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AIM: To characterise the role of substitutes for receptor-activator nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) joint destruction. METHODS: Synovial fluid (SF) macrophages isolated from the knee joint of RA patients were incubated with 25 ng/mL macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) and 50 ng/mL LIGHT (lymphotoxin-like, exhibits inducible expression and competes with herpes simplex virus glycoprotein D for herpes virus entry mediator, a receptor expressed by T lymphocytes) in the presence and absence of 25 ng/mL RANKL and 100 ng/mL osteoprotegerin (OPG) on glass coverslips and dentine slices. Osteoclastogenesis was assessed by the formation of multinucleated cells (MNCs) expressing tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) on coverslips and the extent of lacunar resorption pit formation on dentine slices. The concentration of LIGHT in RA and osteoarthritis (OA) synovial fluid was measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the expression of LIGHT in RA and OA synovium was determined by immunohistochemistry using an indirect immunoperoxidase technique. RESULTS: In cultures of RA SF macrophages treated with LIGHT and M-CSF, there was significant formation of TRAP + MNCs on coverslips and extensive lacunar resorption pit formation on dentine slices. SF-macrophage-osteoclast differentiation was not inhibited by the addition of OPG, a decoy receptor for RANKL. Resorption pits were smaller and less confluent than in RANKL-treated cultures but the overall percentage area of the dentine slice resorbed was comparable in LIGHT- and RANKL-treated cultures. LIGHT significantly stimulated RANKL-induced lacunar resorption compared with RA SF macrophages treated with either RANKL or LIGHT alone. LIGHT was strongly expressed by synovial lining cells, subintimal macrophages and endothelial cells in RA synovium and the concentration of LIGHT was much higher in RA compared with OA SF. CONCLUSION: LIGHT is highly expressed in RA synovium and SF, stimulates RANKL-independent/dependent osteoclastogenesis from SF macrophages and may contribute to marginal erosion formation.

Original publication




Journal article


World j exp med

Publication Date





49 - 57


LIGHT, Osteoclast, Receptor-activator nuclear factor kappa-B ligand, Resorption, Rheumatoid arthritis