Beta-cryptoxanthin (β-cry) is a typical carotenoid found abundantly in fruit and vegetables such as the Japanese mandarin orange, persimmon, papaya, paprika, and carrot, and exerts various biological activities (e.g., antioxidant effects). We previously reported that β-cry suppressed lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced osteoclast differentiation via the inhibition of prostaglandin (PG) E 2 production in gingival fibroblasts and restored the alveolar bone loss in a mouse model for periodontitis in vivo. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanism underlying the inhibitory effects of β-cry on osteoclast differentiation. In mouse calvarial organ cultures, LPS-induced bone resorption was suppressed by β-cry. In osteoblasts, β-cry inhibited PGE 2 production via the downregulation of the LPS-induced mRNA expression of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 and membrane-bound PGE synthase (mPGES)-1, which are PGE synthesis-related enzymes, leading to the suppression of receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) mRNA transcriptional activation. In an in vitro assay, β-cry directly suppressed the activity of the inhibitor of NF-κB kinase (IKK) β, and adding ATP canceled this IKKβ inhibition. Molecular docking simulation further suggested that β-cry binds to the ATP-binding pocket of IKKβ. In Raw264.7 cells, β-cry suppressed RANKL-mediated osteoclastogenesis. The molecular mechanism underlying the involvement of β-cry in LPS-induced bone resorption may involve the ATP-competing inhibition of IKK activity, resulting in the suppression of NF-κB signaling.
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