Calmodulin plays an important role in regulating the function of mature osteoclasts. However, its role in osteoclastogenesis has not been investigated. In the present study, we examined the role of calmodulin in osteoclastogenesis using in vivo and in vitro systems. Calmodulin antagonists, trifluoperazine (TFP), W7, and tamoxifen, dose-dependently inhibited osteoclast formation, which occurred only in the last 24 h of a 4-d osteoclastogenesis culture using mouse bone marrow macrophages. Inhibitory effects were quantitated by measuring tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activity and counting osteoclast numbers. In contrast, his indolylmaleimide, a protein kinase C inhibitor, showed no such inhibitory effect even when applied at a concentration that was 10-fold greater than its IC50. Overexpressing calmodulin by recombinant retrovirus reversed the inhibitory effect of TFP on osteoclast-like differentiation in RAW264.7 cells. Furthermore, administration of TFP to mice was as effective as estrogen in abolishing the ovariectomy-induced increment of osteoclastogenesis as determined by quantitative assessment of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activity in tibias, which led to the recovery of the ovariectomy-induced decrement in trabecular bone volume. To investigate potential cellular and molecular mechanisms by which calmodulin antagonists inhibit osteoclastogenesis, Z-VAD-FMK, a broad caspase inhibitor, failed to block the inhibitory effect of TFP on mouse osteoclast formation, indicating that apoptosis is not the underlying mechanism. Pretreatment of RAW264.7 cells with different concentrations of TFP dose-dependently inhibited receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand-stimulated phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase and inhibitory κBα but not that of p38. Taken together, our data indicate that calmodulin mediates osteoclast differentiation, possibly via modulating specific receptor activator of NF-κB-signaling pathways.