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Pathological Osteoclasts and Precursor Macrophages in Inflammatory Arthritis.

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Ishii, Masaru 


Macrophages comprise a variety of subsets with diverse biological functions, including inflammation, tissue repair, regeneration, and fibrosis. In the bone marrow, macrophages differentiate into multinucleated osteoclasts, which have a unique bone-destroying capacity and play key roles in physiological bone remodelling. In contrast, osteoclasts are also involved in inflammatory bone erosion in arthritis and it has been unclear whether the osteoclasts in different tissue settings arise from similar monocytoid precursors and share similar phenotypes. Rapid progresses in the sequencing technologies have provided many important insights regarding the heterogeneity of different types of osteoclasts. The application of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to the osteoclast precursor-containing macrophages enabled to identify the specific subpopulation differentiating into pathological mature osteoclasts in joints. Furthermore, an intravital imaging technology using two-photon microscopy has succeeded in visualizing the real-time dynamics of immune cells in the synovial microenvironment. These technologies together contributed to characterize the unique macrophages in the inflamed synovium, termed "arthritis-associated osteoclastogenic macrophages (AtoMs)", causing the pathological bone destruction in inflammatory arthritis. Here, we review and discuss how novel technologies help to better understand the role of macrophages in inflammatory arthritis, especially focusing of osteoclastogenesis at the pannus-bone interface.



intravital imaging, macrophage, osteoclast, rheumatoid arthritis, single-cell RNA sequencing, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Humans, Macrophages, Osteoclasts, Osteogenesis, Synovial Membrane

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Front Immunol

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Frontiers Media SA