IL-3, a cytokine secreted by activated T lymphocytes, stimulates the proliferation, differentiation and survival of pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of inhibitory action of IL-3 on osteoclast differentiation. We show here that IL-3 significantly inhibits receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) ligand (RANKL)-induced activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). IL-3 down-regulates expression of c-Fos and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFATc1) transcription factors. In addition, IL-3 down-regulates RANK expression posttranscriptionally in both purified osteoclast precursors and whole bone marrow cells. Furthermore, the inhibitory effect of IL-3 on RANK expression was irreversible. Interestingly, IL-3 inhibits in vivo RANK expression in mice. Thus, we provide the first evidence that IL-3 irreversibly inhibits RANK expression that results in inhibition of important signaling molecules induced by RANKL.