Bone marrow monocytes are primarily committed to osteoclast formation. It is, however, unknown whether potential primary alterations are specifically present in bone marrow monocytes from patients with multiple myeloma, smoldering myeloma or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. We analyzed the immunophenotypic and transcriptional profiles of bone marrow CD14+ monocytes in a cohort of patients with different types of monoclonal gammopathies to identify alterations involved in myeloma-enhanced osteoclastogenesis. The number of bone marrow CD14+CD16+ cells was higher in patients with active myeloma than in those with smoldering myeloma or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. Interestingly, sorted bone marrow CD14+CD16+ cells from myeloma patients were more pro-osteoclastogenic than CD14+CD16-cells in cultures ex vivo. Moreover, transcriptional analysis demonstrated that bone marrow CD14+ cells from patients with multiple myeloma (but neither monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance nor smoldering myeloma) significantly upregulated genes involved in osteoclast formation, including IL21R. IL21R mRNA over-expression by bone marrow CD14+ cells was independent of the presence of interleukin-21. Consistently, interleukin-21 production by T cells as well as levels of interleukin-21 in the bone marrow were not significantly different among monoclonal gammopathies. Thereafter, we showed that IL21R over-expression in CD14+ cells increased osteoclast formation. Consistently, interleukin-21 receptor signaling inhibition by Janex 1 suppressed osteoclast differentiation from bone marrow CD14+ cells of myeloma patients. Our results indicate that bone marrow monocytes from multiple myeloma patients show distinct features compared to those from patients with indolent monoclonal gammopathies, supporting the role of IL21R over-expression by bone marrow CD14+ cells in enhanced osteoclast formation.
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