Mice with interleukin (IL)-7 transgene under the control of E(alpha) promoter over-express IL-7 in MHC class II-positive cells and develop specific immune phenotype, marked by an increase in CD45R(+) cells in both the bone marrow and peripheral blood. We show that IL-7 transgenic mice have a bone phenotype characterized by an age-related loss of trabecular bone in both axial and long bones. Osteopenia was the result of increased number of active osteoclasts on the surface of trabecular bone. Furthermore, IL-7 transgenic mice showed increased osteoclastic but unchanged osteoblastic potential of the bone marrow in vitro. IL-7 over-expression also created osteoclastogenic microenvironment within the bone marrow which promoted the commitment of precursors towards the osteoclast lineage. These findings are important for immunological disturbances where IL-7 is involved and where alterations in the immune system are accompanied by changes in bone metabolism, such as multiple myeloma, rheumatoid arthritis and postmenopausal osteoporosis.