Osteoclasts and dendritic cells are derived from monocyte/macrophage precursor cells; however, how their lineage commitment is regulated is unknown. This study investigated the differentiation pathways of osteoclasts and dendritic cells from common precursor cells at the single-cell level. Osteoclastogenesis induced by macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and receptor activator of nuclear factor-KB ligand (RANKL) or tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) is completely inhibited by addition of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) or interleukin-3 at early stages of differentiation. GM-CSF-treated cells express both c-Fms and RANK and also low levels of CD11c and DEC205, which are detected on dendritic cells. Addition of GM-CSF also reduces expression of both c-Fos and Fra-1, which is an important event for inhibition of osteoclastogenesis. Overexpression of c-Fos by retroviral infection or induction in transgenic mice can rescue a failure in osteoclast differentiation even in the presence of GM-CSF. By contrast, differentiation into dendritic cells is inhibited by M-CSF, indicating that M-CSF and GM-CSF reciprocally regulate the differentia tion of both lineages. Dendritic cell maturation is also inhibited when c-Fos is expressed at an early stage of differentiation. Taken together, these findings suggest that c-Fos is a key mediator of the lineage commitment between osteoclasts and dendritic cells. The lineage determination of osteoclast progenitors seen following GM-CSF treatment functions through the regulation of c-Fos expression.
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