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Farnesoid X receptor (FXR, NR1H4) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors. Since the role of FXR in osteoclast differentiation remains ill-defined, we investigated the biological function of FXR on osteoclastogenesis, using FXR-deficient mice. We demonstrated that FXR deficiency increases osteoclast formation in vitro and in vivo. First, FXR deficiency was found to accelerate osteoclast formation via down-regulation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) 1/2 expression. Increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 (PGC- 1)β seems to mediate the pro-osteoclastogenic effect of FXR deficiency via the JNK pathway. In addition, we found that FXR deficiency downregulated the expression of interferon-β (IFN-β), a strong inhibitor of osteoclastogenesis, via receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL). We further suggested that interference of IFN-β expression by FXR deficiency impaired the downstream JAK3-STAT1 signaling pathways, which in turn increased osteoclast formation. Finally, FXR deficiency accelerated unloading- or ovariectomy-induced bone loss in vivo. Thus, our findings demonstrate that FXR is a negative modulator in osteoclast differentiation and identify FXR as a potential therapeutic target for postmenopausal osteoporosis and unloadinginduced bone loss.


This article originally appeared in Oncotarget, available at

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