Mechanical loading reduces inflammation-induced human osteocyte-to-osteoclast communication

J.L. Pathak, N. Bravenboer, F.P. Luyten, P. Verschueren, W.F. Lems, J. Klein-Nulend, A.D. Bakker

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Multiple factors contribute to bone loss in inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but circulating inflammatory factors and immobilization play a crucial role. Mechanical loading prevents bone loss in the general population, but the effects of mechanical loading in patients with RA are less clear. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether mechanical stimuli reverse the stimulatory effect of RA serum on osteocyte-to-osteoclast communication. Human primary osteocytes were pretreated with 10 % RA serum or healthy control serum for 7 days, followed by 1 h ± mechanical loading by pulsating fluid flow (PFF). Nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E2 were measured in the medium. Receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL), osteoprotegerin (OPG), interleukin-6 (IL-6), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2), matrix-extracellular phosphoglycoprotein (MEPE), cysteine-rich protein 61 (CYR61), and SOST gene expression was quantified by qPCR. Osteoclast precursors were cultured with PFF-conditioned medium (PFF-CM) or static-conditioned medium (stat-CM), and osteoclast formation was assessed. RA serum alone did not affect IL-6, CYR61, COX2, MEPE, or SOST gene expression in osteocytes. However, RA serum enhanced the RANKL/OPG expression ratio by 3.4-fold, while PFF nullified this effect. PFF enhanced NO production to the same extent in control serum (2.6-3.5-fold) and RA serum-pretreated (2.7-3.6-fold) osteocytes. Stat-CM from RA serum-pretreated osteocytes enhanced osteoclastogenesis compared with stat-CM from control serum-pretreated osteocytes, while PFF nullified this effect. In conclusion, RA serum, containing inflammatory factors, did not alter the intrinsic capacity of osteocytes to sense mechanical stimuli, but upregulated osteocyte-to-osteoclast communication. Mechanical loading nullified this upregulation, suggesting that mechanical stimuli could contribute to the prevention of osteoporosis in inflammatory disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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