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Osteoclasts are multinuclear giant cells responsible for bone resorption in lytic bone diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, periodontitis, and bone tumors. Due to the severe side-effects caused by the currently available drugs, a continuous search for novel bone-protective therapies is essential. Artesunate (Art), the water-soluble derivative of artemisinin has been investigated owing to its anti-malarial properties. However, its effects in osteoclastogenesis have not yet been reported. In this study, Art was shown to inhibit the nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastogenesis, the mRNA expression of osteoclastic-specific genes, and resorption pit formation in a dose-dependent manner in primary bone marrow-derived macrophages cells (BMMs). Furthermore, Art markedly blocked the RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis by attenuating the degradation of IκB and phosphorylation of NF-κB p65. Consistent with the in vitro results, Art inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced bone resorption by suppressing the osteoclastogenesis. Together our data demonstrated that Art inhibits RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis by suppressing the NF-κB signaling pathway and that it is a promising agent for the treatment of osteolytic diseases. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Cheng-Ming Wei, Qian Liu, Fang-Ming Song, Xi-Xi Lin, Yi-Ji Su, Jiake Xu, Lin Huang, Shao-Hui Zong, Jin-Min Zhao. Artesunate inhibits RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption in vitro and prevents LPS-induced bone loss in vivo. Journal of cellular physiology. 2018 Jan;233(1):476-485

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PMID: 28294321

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