Volume 83 (2007) 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.)