NADPH oxidase 4 limits bone mass by promoting osteoclastogenesis

J Clin Invest. 2013 Nov;123(11):4731-8. doi: 10.1172/JCI67603.


ROS are implicated in bone diseases. NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4), a constitutively active enzymatic source of ROS, may contribute to the development of such disorders. Therefore, we studied the role of NOX4 in bone homeostasis. Nox4(-/-) mice displayed higher bone density and reduced numbers and markers of osteoclasts. Ex vivo, differentiation of monocytes into osteoclasts with RANKL and M-CSF induced Nox4 expression. Loss of NOX4 activity attenuated osteoclastogenesis, which was accompanied by impaired activation of RANKL-induced NFATc1 and c-JUN. In an in vivo model of murine ovariectomy–induced osteoporosis, pharmacological inhibition or acute genetic knockdown of Nox4 mitigated loss of trabecular bone. Human bone obtained from patients with increased osteoclast activity exhibited increased NOX4 expression. Moreover, a SNP of NOX4 was associated with elevated circulating markers of bone turnover and reduced bone density in women. Thus, NOX4 is involved in bone loss and represents a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density / genetics
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone Resorption / genetics
  • Bone Resorption / pathology
  • Bone Resorption / physiopathology*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / pathology
  • Monocytes / physiology
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases / deficiency
  • NADPH Oxidases / genetics
  • NADPH Oxidases / physiology*
  • Osteoclasts / pathology
  • Osteoclasts / physiology*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / genetics
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / pathology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • RANK Ligand / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • RANK Ligand
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tnfsf11 protein, mouse
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • NADPH Oxidase 4
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • NOX4 protein, human
  • Nox4 protein, mouse