© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Particle-induced bone loss by osteoclasts is a common cause of aseptic loosening around implants. This study investigates whether caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), a potent and specific inhibitor of nuclear factor of activated T cells, cytoplasmic, calcineurin-dependent 1 and nuclear factor kappa B, at a low dose reduces bone resorption in a murine calvarial model of polyethylene (PE) particle-induced osteolysis. The effects of particles and CAPE treatment on gastrointestinal tract (GIT) histopathology were also evaluated. Mice were scanned using in vivo animal micro-computed tomography (μCT) as a baseline measurement. PE particles (2.82 × 109 particles/mL) were implanted over the calvariae on day 0. CAPE was administered subcutaneously (1 mg/kg/day) at days 0, 4, 7 and 10. Mice were killed at day 14 and serum was analysed for Type-1 carboxyterminal collagen crosslinks (CTX)-1 and osteoclast-associated receptor (OSCAR) levels. Ex vivo μCT scans were conducted to assess bone volume (BV) change and percentage area of calvarial surface resorbed. Calvarial and GIT tissue was processed for histopathology. By day 14, PE particles significantly induced calvarial bone loss compared with control animals as evidenced by resorption areas adjacent to the implanted PE in three-dimensional μCT images, an increase in percentage of resorbed area (p = 0.0022), reduction in BV (p = 0.0012) and increased Tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase positive cells. Serum CTX-1 (p = 0.0495) and OSCAR levels (p = 0.0006) significantly increased in the PE implant group. CAPE significantly inhibited PE particle-induced calvarial osteolysis, as evidenced by a significant reduction in surface bone resorption (p = 0.0012) and volumetric change (p = 0.0154) compared with PE only, but had no effect on systemic CTX-1. Neither particles nor CAPE had an effect on GIT histopathology.