The Increased In Vitro Osteoclastogenesis in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Is due to Increased Percentage of Precursors and Decreased Apoptosis — The In Vitro Osteoclast Differentiation in Arthritis (IODA) Study
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Increases in local and systemic bone resorption are hallmarks of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Osteoclasts are implicated in these processes and their enhanced differentiation may contribute to bone destruction. We observed that in vitro osteoclastogenesis varies among healthy individuals and hypothesized that increased osteoclastogenesis could be a marker for the presence of RA. Our objective in the present study was to determine if in vitro osteoclastogenesis from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was different in patients with RA compared to healthy controls and osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Expression of CD14 in PBMCs was quantified and PBMCs were incubated for 21 days in the presence of the osteoclastogenic cytokines M-CSF and RANKL. Differentiation on cortical bone slices permitted the analysis of bone resorption while apoptotic potential was assessed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling. In vitro osteoclastogenesis was higher in PBMCs from RA patients compared to controls, and a similar increase was observed in the percentage of osteoclast precursors in RA patients. Osteoclasts from RA patients showed lower apoptotic rates than osteoclasts from healthy controls. No difference was observed in bone resorption activity between RA patients and controls. Interestingly, the difference in osteoclast number and apoptosis rate allowed the implementation of an algorithm capable of distinguishing patients with RA from controls. In conclusion, our study shows that osteoclast differentiation from PBMCs is enhanced in patients with RA, and this difference can be explained by both a higher percentage of osteoclast precursors in the blood and by the reduced apoptotic potential of mature osteoclasts.