Interleukin-18 (interferon-gamma-inducing factor) is produced by osteoblasts and acts via granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor and not via interferon-gamma to inhibit osteoclast formation

Nobuyuki Udagawa, Nicole J. Horwood, Jan Elliott, Alan Mackay, Jane Owens, Haruki Okamura, Masashi Kurimoto, Timothy J. Chambers, T. John Martin, Matthew T. Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

365 Citations (Scopus)


We have established by differential display polymerase chain reaction of mRNA that interleukin (IL)-18 is expressed by osteoblastic stromal cells. The stromal cell populations used for comparison differed in their ability to promote osteoclast-like multinucleated cell (OCL) formation. mRNA for IL-18 was found to be expressed in greater abundance in lines that were unable to support OCL formation than in supportive cells. Recombinant IL-18 was found to inhibit OCL formation in cocultures of osteoblasts and hemopoietic cells of spleen or bone marrow origin. IL-18 inhibited OCL formation in the presence of osteoclastogenic agents including 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, prostaglandin E2, parathyroid hormone, IL-1, and IL-11. The inhibitory effect of IL-18 was limited to the early phase of the cocultures, which coincides with proliferation of hemopoietic precursors. IL-18 has been reported to induce interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) production in T cells, and both agents also inhibit OCL formation in vitro. Neutralizing antibodies to GM-CSF were able to rescue IL-18 inhibition of OCL formation, whereas neutralizing antibodies to IFN-gamma did not. In cocultures with osteoblasts and spleen cells from IFN-gamma receptor type II-deficient mice, IL-18 was found to inhibit OCL formation, indicating that IL-18 acted independently of IFN-gamma production: IFN-gamma had no effect in these cocultures. Additionally, in cocultures in which spleen cells were derived from receptor-deficient mice and osteoblasts were from wild-type mice and vice versa, we identified that the target cells for IFN-gamma inhibition of OCL formation were the hemopoietic cells. The work provides evidence that IL-18 is expressed by osteoblasts and inhibits OCL formation via GM-CSF production and not via IFN-gamma production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1012
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 1997


  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Base Sequence
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Cell Differentiation/drug effects
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cytokines/biosynthesis
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor/pharmacology
  • Interferon-gamma/pharmacology
  • Interleukin-11/pharmacology
  • Interleukin-18
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Osteoblasts/cytology
  • Osteoclasts/cytology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger/biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Interferon/deficiency
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transcription, Genetic

Cite this