CXCL2 attenuates osteoblast differentiation by inhibiting the ERK1/2 signaling pathway

J Cell Sci. 2019 Aug 27;132(16):jcs230490. doi: 10.1242/jcs.230490.


The C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CXCL2), a member of the CXC receptor ligand family, is involved in various immune and inflammatory processes, but its effect(s) on bone formation have not yet been reported. We report here that CXCL2 is enriched in bone marrow and show abundant expression of CXCL2 in osteoblasts of osteoporotic mice. CXCL2 neutralization within the bone marrow by using antibody alleviated bone loss in mice, indicating a negative role of CXCL2 in bone formation. In line with this, CXCL2 overexpression attenuated proliferation, as well as differentiation, of osteoblasts in vitro By contrast, CXCL2 downregulation promoted osteoblast expansion and differentiation. Mechanistically, CXCL2 inhibits the ERK1/2 (MAPK3/1) signaling pathway in osteoblasts. Activation of ERK1/2 abolishes the inhibitory effect of CXCL2 in osteoblasts, whereas inactivation of ERK1/2 reverses the osteogenic role of CXCL2 inhibition. These results show that CXCL2 attenuates osteoblast differentiation through inhibition of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway. We demonstrate here that CXCL2 is a negative regulator of bone formation and clarify the responsible mechanisms. Therefore, pharmaceutical coordination of CXCL2 and of the pathways through which it is regulated in osteoblasts might be beneficial regarding bone formation.

Keywords: Bone formation; CXCL2; Differentiation; ERK1/2; Osteoblast; Osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CXCL2 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Osteoblasts / cytology
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism*


  • CXCL2 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL2
  • Cxcl2 protein, mouse