Dopamine, a major neurotransmitter, transmits signals via five different seven-transmembrane G protein-coupled receptors termed D1 to D5. Although the relevance of neuroendocrine system to bone metabolism has been emerging, the precise effects of dopaminergic signaling upon osteoclastogenesis remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that human monocyte-derived osteoclast precursor cells express all dopamine-receptor subtypes. Dopamine and dopamine D2-like receptor agonists such as pramipexole and quinpirole reduced the formation of TRAP-positive multi-nucleated cells, cathepsin K mRNA expression, and pit formation area in vitro. These inhibitory effects were reversed by pre-treatment with a D2-like receptor antagonist haloperidol or a Gαi inhibitor pertussis toxin, but not with the D1-like receptor antagonist SCH-23390. Dopamine and dopamine D2-like receptor agonists, but not a D1-like receptor agonist, suppressed intracellular cAMP concentration as well as RANKL-meditated induction of c-Fos and NFATc1 mRNA expression in human osteoclast precursor cells. Finally, the dopamine D2-like receptor agonist suppressed LPS-induced osteoclast formation in murine bone marrow culture ex vivo. These findings indicate that dopaminergic signaling plays an important role in bone homeostasis via direct effects upon osteoclast differentiation and further suggest that the clinical use of neuroleptics is likely to affect bone mass.
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