Bone loss and skeletal fragility in bone fracture are caused by an imbalance in bone remodeling. The current challenge in bone fracture healing is to promote osteoblastogenesis and bone formation. We aimed to explore the role of IL-20 in osteoblastogenesis, osteoblast differentiation and bone fracture. Serum IL-20 was significantly correlated with serum sclerostin in patients with bone fracture. In a mouse model, anti-IL-20 monoclonal antibody (mAb) 7E increased bone formation during fracture healing. In vitro, IL-20 inhibited osteoblastogenesis by upregulating sclerostin, and downregulating osterix (OSX), RUNX2, and osteoprotegerin (OPG). IL-20R1 deficiency attenuated IL-20-mediated inhibition of osteoblast differentiation and maturation and reduced the healing time after a bone fracture. We conclude that IL-20 affects bone formation and downregulates osteoblastogenesis by modulating sclerostin, OSX, RUNX2, and OPG on osteoblasts. Our results demonstrated that IL-20 is involved in osteoregulation and anti-IL-20 mAb is a potential therapeutic for treating bone fracture or metabolic bone diseases.
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