Tumor necrosis factor-inhibiting therapy preferentially targets bone destruction but not synovial inflammation in a tumor necrosis factor-driven model of rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Mar;65(3):608-17. doi: 10.1002/art.37797.


Objective: To investigate how tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-inhibiting therapy affects bone destruction and inflammation in a TNF-driven mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis.

Methods: In order to evaluate the influence of TNF on osteoclastogenesis in vitro, different concentrations of TNF were added to spleen cell-derived monocytes in the absence or presence of different concentrations of RANKL. In addition, the effects of TNF inhibition on osteoclast precursors as well as local bone destruction in vivo were assessed by treating TNF-transgenic mice with different doses of adalimumab.

Results: TNF stimulated osteoclastogenesis mainly by increasing the number of osteoclast precursor cells in vitro. This TNF effect was independent of the presence of RANKL. In the hTNF-transgenic mouse model of destructive arthritis, low-dose TNF-inhibiting therapy with adalimumab had no effect on synovial inflammation but significantly inhibited local bone destruction and the generation of osteoclasts. This inhibition was accompanied by a reduction in the number of c-Fms-positive osteoclast precursor cells in the bone marrow and a reduction of the osteoclast precursor pools in the blood and inflamed synovial membrane of hTNF-transgenic mice.

Conclusion: Low-dose TNF-inhibiting therapy significantly reduces bone erosions by reducing the number of circulating and joint-invading osteoclast precursors. This effect is uncoupled from its antiinflammatory action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / pharmacology*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / pharmacology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Osteoclasts / drug effects
  • Osteoclasts / pathology
  • RANK Ligand / genetics
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics
  • Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Stem Cells / pathology
  • Synovial Membrane / drug effects
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology
  • Synovitis / drug therapy*
  • Synovitis / immunology
  • Synovitis / pathology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • RANK Ligand
  • Tnfsf11 protein, mouse
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Adalimumab