Osteoprotegerin and kidney disease.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Nephrol, Volume 27, Issue 6, p.607-17 (2014)


Animals, asb, Humans, Kidney Diseases, Muscle, Smooth, Vascular, Osteoprotegerin, Recombinant Proteins, Signal Transduction, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand, Vascular Calcification


Vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients is associated to increased mortality. Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a soluble tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily receptor that inhibits the actions of the cytokines receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL) and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) by preventing their binding to signaling receptors in the cell membrane. OPG-deficient mice display vascular calcification while OPG prevented calcification of cultured vascular smooth muscle cells and protected kidney cells from TRAIL-induced death. OPG may be a biomarker in patients with kidney disease. Circulating OPG is increased in predialysis, dialysis and transplant CKD patients and may predict vascular calcification progression and patient survival. By contrast, circulating OPG is decreased in nephrotic syndrome. In addition, free and exosome-bound urinary OPG is increased in human kidney disease. Increased urinary OPG has been associated with lupus nephritis activity. Despite the association of high OPG levels with disease, experimental functional information available suggests that OPG might be protective in kidney disease and in vascular injury in the context of uremia. Thus, tissue injury results in increased OPG, while OPG may protect from tissue injury. Recombinant OPG was safe in phase I randomized controlled trials. Further research is needed to fully define the therapeutic and biomarker potential of OPG in patients with kidney disease.