• animal (mice) models;
  • cell differentiation;
  • cytokine receptors;
  • cytokines;
  • T cells


Activated T lymphocytes either stimulate or inhibit osteoclastogenesis from haematopoietic progenitors in different experimental models. To address this controversy, we used several modes of T lymphocyte activation in osteoclast differentiation − mitogen-pulse, anti-CD3/CD28 stimulation and in vivo and in vitro alloactivation. Osteoclast-like cells were generated from non-adherent immature haematopoietic monocyte/macrophage progenitors in murine bone-marrow in the presence of receptor activator of nuclear factor (NF)-κB ligand (RANKL) and monocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF). All modes of in vivo and in vitro T lymphocyte activation and both CD4+ and CD8+ subpopulations produced similar inhibitory effects on osteoclastogenesis paralleled by enhanced dendritic cell (DC) differentiation. Osteoclast-inhibitory effect was associated with T lymphocyte activation and not proliferation, and could be replaced by their culture supernatants. The stage of osteoclast differentiation was crucial for the inhibitory action of activated T lymphocytes on osteoclastogenesis, because the suppressive effect was visible only on early osteoclast progenitors but not on committed osteoclasts. Inhibition was associated specifically with increased granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) expression by the mechanism of progenitor commitment toward lineages other than osteoclast because activated T lymphocytes down-regulated RANK, CD115, c-Fos and calcitonin receptor expression, and increased differentiation towards CD11c-positive DC. An activated T lymphocyte inhibitory role in osteoclastogenesis, confirmed in vitro and in vivo, mediated through GM-CSF release, may be used to counteract activated bone resorption mediated by T lymphocyte-derived cytokines in inflammatory and immune disorders. We also demonstrated the importance of alloactivation in osteoclast differentiation and the ability of cyclosporin A to abrogate T lymphocyte inhibition of osteoclastogenesis, thereby confirming the functional link between alloreaction and bone metabolism.