Osteoprotegrin interacts with biomarkers and cytokines that have roles in osteoporosis, skin fibrosis, and vasculopathy in systemic sclerosis: a potential multifaceted relationship between OPG/RANKL/TRAIL and Wnt inhibitors

Taylan A1Birlik M2Kenar G2Toprak B3Gundogdu B4Gurler O2Karakas B5Akinci B6Sisman AR7.

Mod Rheumatol. 2018 Jul 13:1-16. doi: 10.1080/14397595.2018.1500736. [Epub ahead of print]




We explored the interactions of osteoprotegerin (OPG) with biomarkers of bone turnover and cytokines, including soluble receptor activator for nuclear factor kappa beta ligand (sRANKL), tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-induced ligand (TRAIL), and Wnt inhibitors in osteoporosis, vasculopathy and fibrosis related to systemic sclerosis (SSc).


The study included 46 SSc patients and 30 healthy controls. Skin thickness, pulmonary fibrosis and/or hypertension, digital ulcers, and calcinosis cutis of SSc patients were assessed. We determined bone mineral density (BMD), and OPG, sRANKL, TRAIL, secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (sFRP-1), Dickkopf-related protein 1 (DKK-1), sclerostin in the serum of both patients and controls.


OPG, sclerostin, and sFRP-1 levels were similar between patients and controls (P > 0.05). Femoral neck and lumbar spine BMD and vitamin D levels were lower, and the OC, NTX, sRANKL, DKK1 and TRAIL levels were significantly higher, in patients than in controls (P < 0.05). In subgroup analysis, patients with higher modified Rodnan skin score (mRodnan) had higher DKK-1, sclerostin, and TRAIL levels (P < 0.05); those with diffuse SSc subtype had lower BMD values than those with limited SSc (P < 0.05). Skin and pulmonary fibrosis linked negatively with BMD measures.


we showed that sRANKL levels were higher and correlated with bone turnover markers. It may be related to osteoporosis in SSc. The OPG level was unaltered in SSc patients. Higher TRAIL levels associated with skin thickness may indicate vascular dysfunction or injury. Higher DKK-1 and sclerostin levels may be related to a reactive increase in cells and be prominently linked to fibrosis in SSc.


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