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The contribution of osteoclasts to the process of bone loss in inflammatory arthritis has recently been demonstrated. Studies in osteoclast biology have led to the identification of factors responsible for the differentiation and activation of osteoclasts, the most important of which is the receptor activator of NF-κB ligand/osteoclast differentiation factor (RANKL/ODF), a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like protein. The RANKL/ODF receptor, receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK), is a TNF-receptor family member present on both osteoclast precursors and mature osteoclasts. Like other TNF-family receptors and the IL-1 receptor, RANK mediates its signal transduction via TNF receptor-associated factor (TRAF) proteins, suggesting that the signaling pathways activated by RANK and other inflammatory cytokines involved in osteoclast differentiation and activation are interconnected.
Gravallese, E. M., Galson, D. L., Goldring, S. R., & Auron, P. E. (2001). The role of TNF-receptor family members and other TRAF-dependent receptors in bone resorption. Arthritis Research. https://doi.org/10.1186/ar134