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Biomaterials. 2004 Feb;25(4):565-73.

Factors regulating osteoclast formation in human tissues adjacent to peri-implant bone loss: expression of receptor activator NFkappaB, RANK ligand and osteoprotegerin.

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Department of Pathology, Division of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.


Aseptic bone loss adjacent to orthopedic joint implants is a common cause of joint implant failure in humans. This study investigates the expression of key regulators of osteoclast formation, receptor activator NFkappaB (RANK), Receptor activator of NFkappaB ligand (RANKL) and osteoprotegerin (OPG), in the peri-implant tissues of patients with osteolysis compared with levels in synovial tissues from osteoarthritic and healthy subjects. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrated that significantly higher levels of RANKL protein (p<0.05) were found in the peri-implant tissues of patients with implant failure than in similar tissues from osteoarthritic and healthy subjects. In contrast, OPG protein levels were similar in all tissues. RANKL, expressed as mRNA and protein, was predominantly associated with cells containing wear particles. Dual labeling studies showed that the cells expressing RANKL protein were macrophages. In situ hybridization studies confirmed that mRNA encoding for these proteins is also expressed by cells in the peri-implant tissues. In addition, RANK mRNA was expressed in cells that contained wear particles. These findings show that abnormally high levels of RANKL are expressed in peri-implant tissues of patients with prosthetic loosening and that these abnormal levels of RANKL may significantly contribute to aseptic implant loosening.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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