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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Atorvastatin inhibits osteoclastogenesis by decreasing the expression of RANKL in the synoviocytes of rheumatoid arthritis

Jeong Yeon Kim1, Eun Young Lee1, Eun Bong Lee1, Yun Jong Lee2, Hyun Jung Yoo1, Jiyong Choi1 and Yeong Wook Song13*

  • * Corresponding author: Yeong W Song ysong@snu.ac.kr

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, 101 Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 110-744, Korea

2 Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, 82, Gumi-ro 173 Beon-gil, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, 463-707, Korea

3 WCU Department of Molecular Medicine and Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Medical Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 103 Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 110-799, Korea

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R187  doi:10.1186/ar4018

Published: 17 August 2012

Abstract

Introduction

Statins, hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, have been reported to have antiinflammatory and/or immunomodulatory effects and prophylactic and therapeutic effects in collagen-induced arthritis, an experimental model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The authors undertook to determine the effect of atorvastatin on the expressions of osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) in RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs), to identify the mechanisms responsible for these effects, and to determine whether the statin inhibits osteoclastogenesis.

Methods

FLSs isolated from five RA patients were cultured in the presence of 20 ng/ml of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) with or without atorvastatin. RANKL expressions were assayed with Western blotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RANKL, RANK, and OPG expression were assayed with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Osteoclast formation was assayed by counting cells after staining for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase in cocultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and RA FLSs.

Results

Atorvastatin inhibited the expression of RANKL in RA FLSs in a dose-dependent manner, and the suppression of RANKL was prevented by mevalonate. However, OPG expression was not affected by atorvastatin in RA FLSs, and atorvastatin did not affect RANK expression in CD14+ cells. Conversely, atorvastatin suppressed TNF-α-induced p38 phosphorylation in RA FLSs and significantly reduced TRAP-positive multinucleated osteoclast formation in the coculture of PBMCs and RA FLSs.

Conclusion

These results suggest that atorvastatin inhibits osteoclastogenesis and bone destruction in RA patients.