Osteoclast progenitors reside in the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor -expressing bone marrow cell population. Academic Article uri icon


  • Osteoclasts are bone-resorbing cells essential for skeletal development, homeostasis, and regeneration. They derive from hematopoietic progenitors in the monocyte/macrophage lineage and differentiate in response to RANKL. However, the precise nature of osteoclast progenitors is a longstanding and important question. Using inducible peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-tTA TRE-GFP (green fluorescent protein) reporter mice, we show that osteoclast progenitors reside specifically in the PPAR-expressing hematopoietic bone marrow population and identify the quiescent PPAR(+) cells as osteoclast progenitors. Importantly, two PPAR-tTA TRE-Cre-controlled genetic models provide compelling functional evidence. First, Notch activation in PPAR(+) cells causes high bone mass due to impaired osteoclast precursor proliferation. Second, selective ablation of PPAR(+) cells by diphtheria toxin also causes high bone mass due to decreased osteoclast numbers. Furthermore, PPAR(+) cells respond to both pathological and pharmacological resorption-enhancing stimuli. Mechanistically, PPAR promotes osteoclast progenitors by activating GATA2 transcription. These findings not only identify the long-sought-after osteoclast progenitors but also establish unprecedented tools for their visualization, isolation, characterization, and genetic manipulation.

published proceedings

  • Mol Cell Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Wei, W., Zeve, D., Wang, X., Du, Y., Tang, W., Dechow, P. C., Graff, J. M., & Wan, Y.

citation count

  • 42

complete list of authors

  • Wei, Wei||Zeve, Daniel||Wang, Xueqian||Du, Yang||Tang, Wei||Dechow, Paul C||Graff, Jonathan M||Wan, Yihong

publication date

  • December 2011