Cell death and differentiation

Osteoblast-induced osteoclast apoptosis by fas ligand/FAS pathway is required for maintenance of bone mass.

PMID 25744024


The interplay between osteoblasts and osteoclasts has a crucial role in maintaining bone homeostasis. In this study, we reveal that osteoblasts are capable of inducing osteoclast apoptosis by FAS ligand (FASL)/FAS signaling. Conditional knockout of FASL in osteoblasts results in elevated osteoclast numbers and activity, along with reduced bone mass, suggesting that osteoblast-produced FASL is required to maintain physiological bone mass. More interestingly, we show that osteoblasts from ovariectomized (OVX) osteoporotic mice exhibit decreased FASL expression that results from the IFN-γ- and TNF-α-activated NF-κB pathway, leading to reduced osteoclast apoptosis and increased bone resorption. Systemic administration of either IFN-γ or TNF-α ameliorates the osteoporotic phenotype in OVX mice and rescues FASL expression in osteoblasts. In addition, ovariectomy induces more significant bone loss in FASL conditional knockout mice than in control group with increased osteoclast activity in which the levels of RANKL and OPG remain unchanged. Taken together, this study suggests that osteoblast-induced osteoclast apoptosis via FASL/FAS signaling is a previously unrecognized mechanism that has an important role in the maintenance of bone mass in both physiological conditions and OVX osteoporosis.