Osteoclastogenesis is an essential process during bone metabolism which can also be promoted by inflammatory signals. Thrombomodulin (TM), a transmembrane glycoprotein, exerts anti-inflammatory activities such as neutralization of proinflammatory high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) through TM lectin-like domain. This study aimed to identify the role of myeloid TM (i.e., endogenous TM expression on the myeloid lineage) in osteoclastogenesis and inflammatory bone loss. Using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages, we observed that the protein levels of TM were dramatically reduced as these cells differentiated into osteoclasts. In addition, osteoclastogenesis and extracellular HMGB1 accumulation were enhanced in primary cultured monocytes from myeloid-specific TM-deficient mice (LysMcre/TMflox/flox) and from TM lectin-like domain deleted mice (TMLeD/LeD) compared with their respective controls. Micro-computerized tomography scans showed that ovariectomy-induced bone loss was more pronounced in TMLeD/LeD mice compared with controls. Finally, the inhibiting effects of recombinant TM lectin-like domain (rTMD1) on bone resorption in vitro, and bone loss in both the ovariectomized model and collagen antibody-induced arthritis model has been detected. These findings suggested that the myeloid TM lectin-like domain may inhibit osteoclastogenesis by reducing HMGB1 signaling, and rTMD1 may hold therapeutic potential for inflammatory bone loss.
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