Zoledronic acid increases the circulating soluble RANKL level in mice, with a further increase in lymphocyte-derived soluble RANKL in zoledronic acid- and glucocorticoid-treated mice stimulated with bacterial lipopolysaccharide

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Abstract

The nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate (BP) zoledronic acid (ZA) is a potent antiresorptive drug used in conjunction with standard cancer therapy to treat osteolysis or hypercalcemia due to malignancy. However, it is unclear how ZA influences the circulating levels of bone remodeling factors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of ZA on the serum levels of soluble receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (sRANKL) and osteoprotegerin (OPG). The following four groups of C57BL/6 mice were used (five mice per group): (1) the placebo + phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) group, in which placebo-treated mice were injected once weekly with PBS for 4 weeks; (2) the placebo + ZA group, in which placebo-treated mice were injected once weekly with ZA for 4 weeks; (3) the prednisolone (PSL) + PBS group, in which PSL-treated mice were injected once weekly with PBS for 4 weeks; and (4) the PSL + ZA group, in which PSL-treated mice were injected once weekly with ZA for 4 weeks. At the 3-week time point, all mice were subjected to oral inflammatory stimulation with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The sera of these mice were obtained every week and the levels of sRANKL and OPG were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. At the time of sacrifice, femurs were prepared for micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), histological, and histomorphometric analyses. Our data indicated that ZA administration remarkably reduced bone turnover and significantly increased the basal level of sRANKL. Interestingly, the PSL + ZA group showed a dramatically elevated sRANKL level after LPS stimulation. In contrast, the PSL + ZA group in nonobese diabetic mice with severe combined immunodeficiency disease (NOD-SCID mice), which are characterized by the absence of functional T- and B-lymphocytes, showed no increase in the sRANKL level. Our data suggest that, particularly with combination treatment of ZA and glucocorticoids, surviving lymphocytes might be the source of inflammation-induced sRANKL. Thus, circulating sRANKL levels might be modulated by ZA.

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