Monoclonal immunoglobulins promote bone loss in multiple myeloma

Blood. 2020 Dec 3;136(23):2656-2666. doi: 10.1182/blood.2020006045.


Most patients with multiple myeloma develop a severe osteolytic bone disease. The myeloma cells secrete immunoglobulins, and the presence of monoclonal immunoglobulins in the patient's sera is an important diagnostic criterion. Here, we show that immunoglobulins isolated from myeloma patients with bone disease promote osteoclast differentiation when added to human preosteoclasts in vitro, whereas immunoglobulins from patients without bone disease do not. This effect was primarily mediated by immune complexes or aggregates. The function and aggregation behavior of immunoglobulins are partly determined by differential glycosylation of the immunoglobulin-Fc part. Glycosylation analyses revealed that patients with bone disease had significantly less galactose on immunoglobulin G (IgG) compared with patients without bone disease and also less sialic acid on IgG compared with healthy persons. Importantly, we also observed a significant reduction of IgG sialylation in serum of patients upon onset of bone disease. In the 5TGM1 mouse myeloma model, we found decreased numbers of lesions and decreased CTX-1 levels, a marker for osteoclast activity, in mice treated with a sialic acid precursor, N-acetylmannosamine (ManNAc). ManNAc treatment increased IgG-Fc sialylation in the mice. Our data support that deglycosylated immunoglobulins promote bone loss in multiple myeloma and that altering IgG glycosylation may be a therapeutic strategy to reduce bone loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Bone Resorption / immunology*
  • Bone Resorption / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / immunology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Neoplasm Proteins