Intestinal Inflammation Promotes MDL-1+ Osteoclast Precursor Expansion to Trigger Osteoclastogenesis and Bone Loss

Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022;14(4):731-750. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2022.07.002. Epub 2022 Jul 12.


Background & aims: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by severe gastrointestinal inflammation, but many patients experience extra-intestinal disease. Bone loss is one common extra-intestinal manifestation of IBD that occurs through dysregulated interactions between osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Systemic inflammation has been postulated to contribute to bone loss, but the specific pathologic mechanisms have not yet been fully elucidated. We hypothesized that intestinal inflammation leads to bone loss through increased abundance and altered function of osteoclast progenitors.

Methods: We used chemical, T cell driven, and infectious models of intestinal inflammation to determine the impact of intestinal inflammation on bone volume, the skeletal cytokine environment, and the cellular changes to pre-osteoclast populations within bone marrow. Additionally, we evaluated the potential for monoclonal antibody treatment against an inflammation-induced osteoclast co-receptor, myeloid DNAX activation protein 12-associating lectin-1 (MDL-1) to reduce bone loss during colitis.

Results: We observed significant bone loss across all models of intestinal inflammation. Bone loss was associated with an increase in pro-osteoclastogenic cytokines within the bone and an expansion of a specific Cd11b-/loLy6Chi osteoclast precursor (OCP) population. Intestinal inflammation led to altered OCP expression of surface receptors involved in osteoclast differentiation and function, including the pro-osteoclastogenic co-receptor MDL-1. OCPs isolated from mice with intestinal inflammation demonstrated enhanced osteoclast differentiation ex vivo compared to controls, which was abrogated by anti-MDL-1 antibody treatment. Importantly, in vivo anti-MDL-1 antibody treatment ameliorated bone loss during intestinal inflammation.

Conclusions: Collectively, these data implicate the pathologic expansion and altered function of OCPs expressing MDL-1 in bone loss during IBD.

Keywords: Inflammatory Bowel Disease; MDL-1; Osteoclast.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Bone Resorption* / genetics
  • Bone Resorption* / metabolism
  • Bone Resorption* / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / genetics
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / metabolism
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / pathology
  • Intestines / metabolism
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Lectins, C-Type* / genetics
  • Lectins, C-Type* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Osteoclasts* / metabolism
  • Osteoclasts* / pathology
  • Osteogenesis* / genetics
  • Osteogenesis* / physiology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface* / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface* / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Clec5a protein, mouse
  • Cytokines
  • Lectins
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Receptors, Cell Surface