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Lactoferrin (LF) is a key modulator of inflammatory response. Since bone and immune systems are genetically and functionally linked, we were interested to know if LF could influence bone remodeling. Bovine LF (bLF) inhibited in vitro bone resorbing activity (IC50, 200 microg/ml) in a rabbit mixed bone cell culture, consisting of authentic osteoclasts in an environment of osteoblast and stromal cells. Using human CD14 selected cells committed toward osteoclasts, bLF (10 microg/ml) stimulated cell proliferation, however, led to an inhibition of calcitonin receptor mRNA expression, a main marker of osteoclast phenotype, and decreased the global resorbing activity. No modulation of RANK mRNA expression was observed and mRNA for RANKL and OPG were not detected in this culture system, suggesting that bLF inhibits osteoclastogenesis and reduces bone resorption through a mechanism independent of OPG/RANKL/RANK. In conclusion, bLF appears to modulate bone remodeling. Its mechanism of action remains to be elucidated.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Publication Date





261 - 266


Department of Nutrition, Nestle Research Center, Vers-Chez-les-Blanc, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Cells, Cultured, Osteoclasts, Animals, Cattle, Rabbits, Humans, Bone Resorption, Glycoproteins, Carrier Proteins, Lactoferrin, NF-kappa B, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Membrane Glycoproteins, Receptors, Calcitonin, Antigens, CD14, Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear, Cell Differentiation, Phenotype, RANK Ligand, Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B, Osteoprotegerin