Radiation exposure arising from radiotherapy may induce rapid bone loss and an increase in the extent of bone resorption. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) caused by radiation exposure play a crucial role during the process of osteoclastogenesis. However, the pathological mechanisms underlying radiation-induced osteoclastogenesis have yet to be fully elucidated. CR6-interacting factor-1 (Crif1) as a multifunctional protein is involved in regulating multiple biological functions in cells. Here, we investigated the role of Crif1 in radiation-induced osteoclastogenesis and found that radiation exposure induced an increase in the expression level of Crif1 and enhanced osteoclastogenesis in osteoclast progenitors. Crif1 and NF-κB p65 co-localized in the cytoplasm after radiation exposure. Crif1 knockdown did not affect the phosphorylation and total protein levels of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK), c-Jun amino (N)-terminal kinases (JNK), p38, and IκB-α before and after irradiation. However, Crif1 knockdown did lead to the reduced phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65 after irradiation and resulted in a reduced level of osteoclastogenesis in RAW264.7 cells after irradiation. In vivo studies involving Lyz2Cre;Crif1fl/fl mice possessing the myeloid-specific deletion of Crif1 demonstrated the alleviation of bone loss after irradiation when compared with Crif1fl/fl mice. Our findings demonstrate that Crif1 mediated the phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65 and promoted osteoclastogenesis via the NF-κB signaling pathway after radiation exposure. Thus, our analysis revealed a specific role for Crif1 in the mediation of radiation-induced bone loss and may provide new insight into potential therapeutic strategies for radiation-induced bone loss.

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