Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) recruits osteoclast precursors by inducing chemotaxis, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity, and collagen transmigration

J Bone Miner Res. 2003 Aug;18(8):1404-18. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.2003.18.8.1404.


Signals targeting OCs to bone and resorption sites are not well characterized. A chemoattractant receptor (CXCR4), highly expressed in murine OC precursors, mediated their chemokine (SDF-1)-induced chemoattraction, collagen transmigration, and MMP-9 expression. Thus, bone vascular and stromal SDF-1 may direct OC precursors into bone and marrow sites for development and bone resorption.

Introduction: Although chemokines are essential for trafficking and homing of circulating hematopoietic cells under normal and pathological conditions, their potential roles in osteoclast (OC) recruitment or function are generally unknown. CXCR4 and its unique ligand, stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1), critically control the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-dependent targeting of hematopoietic cells into bone and within the marrow microenvironment. Therefore, SDF-1/CXCR4 may regulate OC precursor recruitment to sites for development and activation.

Methods: Chemokine receptor mRNA expression was analyzed during OC formation induced by RANKL in murine RAW 264.7 cells. SDF-1 versus RANKL effects on chemotaxis, transcollagen migration, MMP-9 expression and activity, OC development, and bone resorption were evaluated in RAW cells or RAW-OCs.

Results: CXCR4 was highly expressed in RAW cells and downregulated during their RANKL development into bone-resorptive RAW-OCs. SDF-1, but not RANKL, elicited RAW cell chemotaxis. Conversely, RANKL, but not SDF-1, promoted RAW-OC development, TRAP activity, cathepsin K expression, and bone pit resorption, and SDF-1 did not modify these RANKL responses. Both SDF-1 and RANKL increased MMP-9, a matrix-degrading enzyme essential for OC precursor migration into developing bone marrow cavities, and increased transcollagen migration of RAW cells in a MMP-dependent manner. SDF-1 also upregulated MMP-9 in various primary murine OC precursor cells. Because RANKL induced a higher, more sustained expression of MMP-9 in RAW cells than did SDF-1, MMP-9 may have an additional role in mature OCs. Consistent with this, MMP-9 upregulation during RANKL-induced RAW-OC development was necessary for initiation of bone pit resorption.

Conclusions: SDF-1, a chemokine highly expressed by bone vascular endothelial and marrow stromal cells, may be a key signal for the selective attraction of circulating OC precursors into bone and their migration within marrow to appropriate perivascular stromal sites for RANKL differentiation into resorptive OCs. Thus, SDF-1 and RANKL likely serve complementary physiological functions, partly mediated through increases in MMP-9, to coordinate stages of OC precursor recruitment, development, and function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Resorption
  • Carrier Proteins / pharmacology
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC / pharmacology*
  • Chemotaxis / drug effects*
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Induction / drug effects
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Osteoclasts / cytology
  • Osteoclasts / drug effects*
  • Osteoclasts / enzymology
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism*
  • RANK Ligand
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Receptors, Chemokine / genetics
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Stem Cells / enzymology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Cxcl12 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • RANK Ligand
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Tnfrsf11a protein, mouse
  • Tnfsf11 protein, mouse
  • Collagen
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9