Inflammatory osteoclasts-derived exosomes promote bone formation by selectively transferring lncRNA LIOCE into osteoblasts to interact with and stabilize Osterix

FASEB J. 2022 Feb;36(2):e22115. doi: 10.1096/fj.202101106RR.


Bone loss is a hallmark of inflammatory bone diseases caused by aberrantly activated osteoclasts (OCLs). Studies have shown that OCLs exhibit various phenotypes and functions due to variations in the source(s) of precursor cells, cytokine expressions, and microenvironment-dependent factors. During these conditions, inflammatory osteoclasts (iOCLs) lose their immune-suppressive effect relative to OCLs under physiological conditions. This induces TNF α-producing CD4+ T cells in an antigen-dependent manner and finally leads to cascade amplification of iOCLs. OCL-derived exosomes have been reported to regulate OCL formation and inhibit the osteoblast activity. However, the specific function and mechanism of iOCL-derived exosomes on osteoblast have not been studied yet. In the present study, we compare the osteoblast promoting activities of iOCL-derived exosomes and OCL-derived exosomes. We found that iOCLs exosomes specifically target osteoblasts through ephrinA2/EphA2. Mechanistically, the lncRNA LIOCE is enriched in iOCL exosomes and promotes the osteoblast activity after being incorporated into osteoblasts. Furthermore, our results revealed that exosomal lncRNA LIOCE stabilizes osteogenic transcription factor Osterix by interacting and reducing the ubiquitination level of Osterix. This study demonstrated that the bone loss is alleviated in the inflammatory osteolysis mice model after injection of iOCL exosomes encapsulating lncRNA LIOCE. The role of exosomes encapsulating lncRNA LIOCE in promoting bone formation was well established in the rat bone repair model. Our results indicate that iOCL-derived exosomal lncRNA LIOCE promotes bone formation by upregulating Osx expression, and thus, the exosomes encapsulating lncRNA LIOCE may be an effective strategy to increase bone formation in osteoporosis and other bone metabolic disorders.

Keywords: exosomes; inflammatory osteoclasts; lncRNA; osteoblasts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Line
  • Exosomes / genetics*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Osteoblasts / physiology*
  • Osteoclasts / physiology*
  • Osteogenesis / genetics*
  • Osteolysis / genetics
  • Osteoporosis / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • Rats
  • Sp7 Transcription Factor / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Ubiquitination / genetics
  • Up-Regulation / genetics


  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • Sp7 Transcription Factor
  • Sp7 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors