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Arthritis Rheum. 2002 Sep;46(9):2514-23.

Adeno-associated virus-mediated osteoprotegerin gene transfer protects against particulate polyethylene-induced osteolysis in a murine model.

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  • 1Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.



Osteoprotegerin (OPG), a natural negative regulator of osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption, may be a potential therapeutic agent for treatment of osteolysis-associated prosthetic joint loosening. Using an in vivo adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene transfer technique, this study was designed to evaluate the protective effects of OPG transgene against orthopedic wear debris-induced bone loss in a murine model of osteolysis.


Bone tissue was implanted into established pouches on BALB/c mice, followed by the introduction of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) particles to provoke inflammation and osteolysis. The viruses encoding human OPG gene (rAAV-hOPG) or beta-galactosidase marker gene (rAAV-LacZ) were injected into the air pouches, and the tissue was harvested 7 days after viral infection for histologic and molecular analyses.


Successful transgene expression was confirmed by the detection of OPG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and positive X-Gal staining of pouch tissue (LacZ). Real-time polymerase chain reaction indicated significant diminishment of messenger RNA expression of osteoclast markers in OPG-transduced pouches compared with rAAV-LacZ-transduced pouches. The transduction and expression of OPG also markedly decreased the gene copies of the biologic receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaB. The expression of OPG in the bone-implanted pouch reduced bone calcium release by a mean of 39% compared with the calcium release in the other 2 groups. Computerized image analysis revealed that expression of OPG significantly protected against bone collagen loss.


OPG gene transfer mediated by rAAV effectively protects against particulate polyethylene-induced bone resorption in this experimental model. Data suggest that gene transfer using rAAV-OPG may be a feasible and effective therapeutic candidate to treat or prevent wear debris-associated osteolysis and aseptic loosening.

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