Osteoprotegerin and Vascular Calcification: Clinical and Prognostic Relevance

Sandra Makarovic, Zorin Makarović, Robert Steiner, Ivan Mihaljević, Jasminka Milas-Ahić


Osteoprotegerin ( OPG ) is a key regulator in bone metabolism, that also has effect in vascular system. Studies suggest that osteoprotegerin is a critical arterial calcification inhibitor, and is released by endothelial cells as a protective mechanism for their survival in certain pathological conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and other metabolic disorders. That has been shown in studies in vitro and in animal models. The discovery that OPG deficient mice (OPG-/- mice) develop severe osteoporosis and arterial calcification, has led to conclusion that osteoprotegerin might be mulecule linking vascular and bone system. Paradoxically however, clinical trials have shown recently that OPG serum levels is increased in coronary artery disease and  correlates with its severity, ischemic cardial decompensation, and future cardiovascular events. Therefore it is possible that osteoprotegerin could have a new function as a potential biomarker in early identification  and monitoring patients with cardiovascular disease. Amongst that osteoprotegerin is in association with well known atherosclerosis risc factors: undoubtedly it is proven its relationship with age, smoking and diabetes mellitus. There is evidence regarding presence of hyperlipoproteinemia and increased serum levels of osteoprotegerin. Also the researches have been directed in genetic level, linking certain single nucleotid genetic polymorphisms of osteoprotegerin and vascular calcification appearance.                                                                            This review emphasises multifactorial role of OPG,  presenting numerous clinical and experimental stydies regarding its role in vascular pathology, suggesting a novel biomarker in cardiovascular diseases, showing latest conclusions about this interesting topic that needs to be further explored.


osteoprotegerin, vascular calcification, coronary artery disease, bone system, vascular system, atherosclerosis, biomarker

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