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Blood. 2001 Dec 15;98(13):3527-33.

Myeloma cells induce imbalance in the osteoprotegerin/osteoprotegerin ligand system in the human bone marrow environment.

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INSERM U463, Nantes, France.


Although osteolysis is a common complication in patients with multiple myeloma (MM), the biologic mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of MM-induced bone disease are poorly understood. Two factors produced by stromal-osteoblastic cells seem critical to the regulation of bone resorption: osteoprotegerin (OPG) and its ligand (OPGL). OPGL stimulates osteoclast differentiation and activity, whereas OPG inhibits these processes. The present study investigated whether myeloma cells affect physiologic OPG/OPGL balance in the bone marrow (BM) environment. Ten human myeloma cell lines and myeloma cells isolated from 26 consecutive patients with MM failed to express OPGL and only rarely produced a low amount of OPG. In a coculture system, human myeloma cells up-regulated OPGL expression but strongly down-regulated OPG production in preosteoblastic (preOB) or stromal cells (BMSCs) of primary human BM at the mRNA and protein levels. This effect, which was dependent on cell-to-cell contact between myeloma cells and BMSCs or preOB, partially involved the integrin VLA-4. In addition, overexpression of OPGL mRNA occurred in ex vivo BM cultures obtained from MM patients as compared with healthy donors, and immunohistochemical staining performed on BM biopsy specimens showed an increase of OPGL and a reduction of OPG expression in MM patients as compared with healthy subjects. In summary, these data indicate that myeloma cells affect the OPG/OPGL ratio in the BM environment and tend to confirm that the OPG/OPGL system is involved in the pathogenesis of MM-induced bone disease.

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