Monocytic MDSCs skew Th17 cells toward a pro-osteoclastogenic phenotype and potentiate bone erosion in rheumatoid arthritis.
While myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) were previously shown to promote a proinflammatory T helper (Th) 17 response in autoimmune conditions, a potential impact of the MDSC-Th17 immune axis on abnormal bone destruction in RA remains largely unknown.We investigated the correlation between the frequency of MDSCs or its subsets and joint destruction in RA patients. The reciprocal actions of patient-derived MDSCs and Th17 cells were studied using osteoclast (OC) differentiation and bone resorption assays in vitro, which were further validated using mouse models of RA. Contribution of MDSCs to osteoclastogenesis and bone erosion in vivo was determined by depletion or transfer of MDSCs.Human MDSCs, particularly monocytic MDSCs (M-MDSCs), exhibit inherent OC-differentiating capacity and positively correlate with clinical bone erosion in RA patients. Strikingly, patient-derived M-MDSCs can program Th17 cells towards a pro-osteoclastogenic phenotype, which in return potentiates OC differentiation via the receptor activator of nuclear factor κΒ ligand (RANK-L)-RANK signalling. This enhanced osteolysis driven by the reciprocal actions of M-MDSCs and Th17 cells is further confirmed using mouse models of RA. Selective depletion of M-MDSCs significantly ameliorates osteoclastogenesis and disease severity in arthritic mice, whereas transfer of M-MDSCs aggravates bone erosion associated with increased OCs in recipient mice.Our findings highlight the functional plasticity of MDSCs and identify a novel pro-osteoclastogenic pathway governed by interplay between myeloid cells and T lymphocytes in autoimmune RA.