Osteoclasts are multinucleated cells of hematopoietic origin that are responsible for the degradation of old bone matrix. Osteoclast differentiation and activity are controlled by two essential cytokines, macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and the receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL). M-CSF and RANKL bind to their respective receptors c-Fms and RANK to stimulate osteoclast differentiation through regulation of delicate signaling systems. Here, we summarize the critical or essential signaling pathways for osteoclast differentiation including M-CSF-c-Fms signaling, RANKL-RANK signaling, and costimulatory signaling for RANK.
Keywords: Bone and bones; Macrophage colony-stimulating factor; Osteoclasts; RANK ligand; Signal transduction.