Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B
Online ISSN : 1349-2896
Print ISSN : 0386-2208
Interaction between the immune system and bone metabolism: an emerging field of osteoimmunology
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2007 Volume 83 Issue 5 Pages 136-143


The interaction between the immune and bone systems has long been appreciated, but recent research into arthritis as well as various bone phenotypes found in immune-related knockout mice has highlighted the importance of the interplay and the interdisciplinary field called osteoimmunology. In rheumatoid arthritis, IL-17-producing helper T cells (TH17) induces receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL), which stimulates osteoclast differentiation through nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)c1. Accumulating evidence suggests that the immune and skeletal systems share cytokines, signaling molecules, transcription factors and membrane receptors. In addition, the immune cells are maintained in the bone marrow, which provides a space for mutual interaction. Thus, bone turns out to be a dynamic tissue that is constantly renewed, where the immune system participates to a hitherto unexpected extent. This emerging field of osteoimmunology will be of great importance not only to the better understanding of the two systems but also to the development of new treatment for rheumatic diseases.

(Communicated by Masanori OTSUKA, M.J.A.)

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© 2007 The Japan Academy
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