Expression profiling reveals alternative macrophage activation and impaired osteogenesis in periprosthetic osteolysis



Interactions between periprosthetic cells and prosthetic wear debris have been recognized as an important event in the development of osteolysis and aseptic loosening. Although the ability of wear debris to activate pro-inflammatory macrophage signaling has been documented, the full repertoire of macrophage responses to wear particles has not been established. Here, we examined the involvement of alternative macrophage activation and defective osteogenic signaling in osteolysis. Using real-time RT-PCR analysis of periprosthetic soft tissue from osteolysis patients, we detected elevated levels of expression of alternative macrophage activation markers (CHIT1, CCL18), chemokines (IL8, MIP1 α) and markers of osteoclast precursor cell differentiation and multinucleation (Cathepsin K, TRAP, DC-STAMP) relative to osteoarthritis controls. The presence of cathepsin K positive multinuclear cells was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Reduced expression levels of the osteogenic signaling components BMP4 and FGF18 were detected. Expression levels of TNF-α, IL-6, and RANKL were unchanged, while the anti-osteoclastogenic cytokine OPG was reduced in osteolysis patients, resulting in elevated RANKL:OPG ratios. In vitro studies confirmed the role of particulate debris in alternative macrophage activation and inhibition of osteogenic signaling. Taken together, these results suggest involvement in osteolysis of alternative macrophage activation, accompanied by elevated levels of various chemokines. Increased recruitment and maturation of osteoclast precursors is also observed, as is reduced osteogenesis. These findings provide new insights into the molecular pathogenesis of osteolysis, and identify new potential candidate markers for disease progression and therapeutic targeting. © 2007 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 26:106–116, 2008