Cells of the immune system orchestrate changes in bone cell function

Sarah E. Wythe, Vicky Nicolaidou, Nicole J. Horwood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There is a complex interplay between the cells of the immune system and bone. Immune cells, such as T and NK cells, are able to enhance osteoclast formation via the production of RANKL. Yet there is increasing evidence to show that during the resolution of inflammation or as a consequence of increased osteoclastogenesis there is an anabolic response via the formation of more osteoblasts. Furthermore, osteoblasts themselves are involved in the control of immune cell function, thus promoting the resolution of inflammation. Hence, the concept of "coupling" - how bone formation is linked to resorption - needs to be more inclusive rather than restricting our focus to osteoblast-osteoclast interactions as in a whole organism these cells are never in isolation. This review will investigate the role of immune cells in normal bone homeostasis and in inflammatory diseases where the balance between resorption and formation is lost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-111
Number of pages14
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Monocytes
  • Natural killer cells
  • Osteoblast
  • Osteoclast
  • T cells


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