Current evidence suggests that levels of 25-(OH)vitamin D3 (25D), rather than 1alpha,25-(OH)2vitamin D3 (1,25D), directly affect bone mineralization and that the skeleton is a site of extra-renal synthesis of 1,25D. Since cells of the monocyte lineage can also metabolise 25D, it is possible that osteoclasts participate in local production of, and the response to, 1,25D. In this study, we investigated the effects of vitamin D metabolism on osteoclastogenesis using both the murine RAW 264.7 cell line and the human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) models. PBMC-derived osteoclasts expressed cytoplasmic cyp27b1 and nuclear vdr proteins. PBMC expressed CYP27B1 mRNA, levels of which increased during RANKL induced differentiation into osteoclasts in both cell types. While 1,25D elicited a robust CYP24 transcriptional response in PBMC, the response to 25D was approximately 100-fold less at the concentrations used. Using media devoid of pre-existing vitamin D metabolites, we found that 25D was metabolised by RAW 264.7 cells to 1,25D and resulted in significant elevation in the numbers of TRAP-positive, multinucleated osteoclasts when present in the cultures for the first 3-5 days. These results suggest that vitamin D metabolism by osteoclast lineage cells is an important regulator of osteoclast formation.
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