TRANCE/RANKL knockout mice are protected from bone erosion in a serum transfer model of arthritis

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Arthritis; Blood Transfusion; Bone and Bones; Carrier Proteins; Cartilage, Articular; Disease Models, Animal; Membrane Glycoproteins; Mice; Mice, Knockout; RANK Ligand; Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B; Tomography, X-Ray Computed


Cell and Developmental Biology | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Musculoskeletal Diseases | Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms | Pathology | Rheumatology | Skin and Connective Tissue Diseases


There is considerable evidence that osteoclasts are involved in the pathogenesis of focal bone erosion in rheumatoid arthritis. Tumor necrosis factor-related activation-induced cytokine, also known as receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (TRANCE/RANKL) is an essential factor for osteoclast differentiation. In addition to its role in osteoclast differentiation and activation, TRANCE/RANKL also functions to augment T-cell dendritic cell cooperative interactions. To further evaluate the role of osteoclasts in focal bone erosion in arthritis, we generated inflammatory arthritis in the TRANCE/RANKL knockout mouse using a serum transfer model that bypasses the requirement for T-cell activation. These animals exhibit an osteopetrotic phenotype characterized by the absence of osteoclasts. Inflammation, measured by clinical signs of arthritis and histopathological scoring, was comparable in wild-type and TRANCE/RANKL knockout mice. Microcomputed tomography and histopathological analysis demonstrated that the degree of bone erosion in TRANCE/RANKL knockout mice was dramatically reduced compared to that seen in control littermate mice. In contrast, cartilage erosion was present in both control littermate and TRANCE/RANKL knockout mice. These results confirm the central role of osteoclasts in the pathogenesis of bone erosion in arthritis and demonstrate distinct mechanisms of cartilage destruction and bone erosion in this animal model of arthritis.

DOI of Published Version



Am J Pathol. 2001 Nov;159(5):1689-99. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The American journal of pathology


At the time of publication, Ellen Gravallese was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID