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Ren Fail. 2005;27(5):531-9.

Osteoprotegerin and bone mineral density in hemodiafiltration patients.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Messina, Italy.


A newly identified cytokine, osteoprotegerin (OPG) appears to be involved in the regulation of bone remodeling. In vitro studies suggest that OPG, a soluble member of the TNF receptor family of proteins, inhibits osteoclastogenesis by interrupting the intercellular signaling between osteoblastic stromal cells and osteoclast progenitors. As patients with chronic renal failure (CRF) often have renal osteodystrophy (ROD), we investigated the role of osteoprotegerin (OPG) in ROD, and investigated whether there was any relationship between serum OPG, intact parathyroid (PTH) (iPTH), vitamin D, and trabecular bone. Serum OPG combined with iPTH might be a useful tool in the noninvasive diagnosis of ROD, at least in cases in which the range of PTH values compromises reliable diagnosis. Thirty-six patients on maintenance hemodiafiltration (HDF) and a control group of 36 age and sex matched healthy subjects with no known metabolic bone disease were studied. The following assays were made on serum: iPTH, osteocalcin (BGP), bone alkaline phosphatase, 25(OH)-cholecalciferol, calcium, phosphate, OPG, IGF-1, estradiol, and free testosterone. Serum Ca++, P, B-ALP, BGP, IGF-1, iPTH, and OPG levels were significantly higher in HDF patients than in controls, while DXA measurements and quantitative ultrasound (QUS) parameters were significantly lower. On grouping patients according to their mean OPG levels, we observed significantly lower serum IGF-1, vitamin D3 concentrations, and lumbar spine and hip bone mineral density in the high OPG groups. No correlation was found between OPG and bone turnover markers, whereas a negative correlation was found between serum OPG and IGF-1 levels (r=-0.64, p=0.032). Serum iPTH concentrations were positively correlated with bone alkaline phosphatase (B-ALP) (r=0.69, p=0.038) and BGP (r=0.92, p<0.001). The findings made suggest that an increase in OPG levels may be a compensatory response to elevated bone loss. The low bone mineral density (BMD) levels found in the high OPG group might have been due to the significant decrease in serum IGF-1 and vitamin D3 observed. In conclusion, the findings made in the present study demonstrate that increased OPG in hemodiafiltration patients is only partly due to decreased renal clearance. As it may partly reflect a compensatory response to increased bone loss, this parameter might be helpful in the identification of patients with a marked reduction in trabecular BMD.

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