, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 931-938

Bone loss in relation to serum levels of osteoprotegerin and nuclear factor-κB ligand: the Tromsø Study

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Abstract

Summary

In this longitudinal study of 4,137 persons, bone mineral density was negatively associated with osteoprotegerin at baseline in both genders. In postmenopausal women not using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bone-loss increased with increasing osteoprotegerin levels, whereas no relationship was found in men, premenopausal women, or postmenopausal women taking HRT.

Introduction

In a population-based study of 2,003 men and 2,134 women, the relationship between the osteoprotegerin (OPG)/factor-κB ligand (RANKL) system and bone mineral density (BMD) and changes in BMD was examined.

Methods

Baseline measurements included height, weight, BMD of the forearm, OPG, RANKL, vitamin D, and serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) and information about lifestyle, prevalent diseases, and use of medication. BMD was remeasured at follow-up 6 years later.

Results

BMD was negatively associated with OPG at baseline in both men and women (p trend over OPG levels = 0.01 and 0.007, respectively, after adjustments for age, and other confounders). In postmenopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy, bone loss increased with increasing OPG (p = 0.005), whereas no relationship was found in men, premenopausal women, or postmenopausal women on HRT (p ≥ 0.28). BMD at baseline and BMD changes were not related to RANKL levels in any of the groups (p ≥ 0.14).

Conclusions

In postmenopausal women not using HRT, bone loss associated positively with OPG. The results indicate that in women deficient in sex steroids, the OPG/RANKL system may play an important counter regulatory role in order to avoid bone loss and maintain BMD. In men and women replete in sex steroids, the OPG/RANKL system was not associated with BMD.