Osteoimmunology: Interplay between the immune system and bone metabolism

Matthew C. Walsh, Nacksung Kim, Yuho Kadono, Jaerang Rho, Soo Young Lee, Joseph Lorenzo, Yongwon Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

536 Scopus citations


Studies of bone and the immune system have converged in recent years under the banner of osteoimmunology. The immune system is spawned in the bone marrow reservoir, and investigators now recognize that important niches also exist there for memory lymphocytes. At the same time, various factors produced during immune responses are capable of profoundly affecting regulation of bone. Mechanisms have evolved to prevent excessive interference by the immune system with bone homeostasis, yet pathologic bone loss is a common sequela associated with autoimmunity and cancer. There are also developmental links, or parallels, between bone and the immune system. Cells that regulate bone turnover share a common precursor with inflammatory immune cells and may restrict themselves anatomically, in part by utilizing a signaling network analogous to lymphocyte costimulation. Efforts are currently under way to further characterize how these two organ systems overlap and to develop therapeutic strategies that benefit from this understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-63
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual Review of Immunology
StatePublished - 2006


  • Costimulation
  • Dendritic cell
  • Osteoblast
  • Osteoclast
  • T lymphocyte


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