Neutralization of CD40 ligand costimulation promotes bone formation and accretion of vertebral bone mass in mice

Susanne Roser-Page, Tatyana Vikulina, Kanglun Yu, Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence, M. Neale Weitzmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective. Immunosuppressive biologics are used in the management of RA and additional immunomodulators are under investigation including modulators of the CD40/CD40 ligand (CD40L) costimulation pathway. Tampering with immune function can have unanticipated skeletal consequences due to disruption of the immuno-skeletal interface, a nexus of shared cells and cytokine effectors serving discrete functions in both immune and skeletal systems. In this study, we examined the effect of MR1, a CD40L neutralizing antibody, on physiological bone remodelling in healthy mice. Methods. Female C57BL6 mice were treated with MR1 and BMD was quantified by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and indices of trabecular bone structure were quantified by micro-CT. Serum biochemical markers were used to evaluate bone turnover and formation indices by histomorphometry. Results. Unexpectedly, MR1 stimulated significant accretion of BMD and trabecular bone mass in the spine, but not in long bones. Surprisingly, bone accretion was accompanied by a significant increase in bone formation, rather than suppression of bone resorption. Mechanistically, MR1-induced bone accrual was associated with increased Treg development and elevated production of cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4, a costimulation inhibitor that promotes T cell anergy and CD8+ T cell expression of the bone anabolic ligand Wnt-10b. Conclusion. Our studies reveal an unexpected bone anabolic activity of pharmacological CD40L suppression. Therapeutic targeting of the CD40L pathway may indeed have unforeseen consequences for the skeleton, but may also constitute a novel strategy to promote bone formation to ameliorate osteoporotic bone loss and reduce fracture risk in the axial skeleton.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1105-1114
Number of pages10
JournalRheumatology (United Kingdom)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Bone formation
  • CD40 ligand
  • MR1
  • Osteoblast
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • T cell
  • Wnt-10b

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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