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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2009 Jan;113(1-2):46-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.11.005. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

RANKL/OPG in primary cultures of osteoblasts from post-menopausal women. Differences between osteoporotic hip fractures and osteoarthritis.

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Bone Metabolism Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Virgen Macarena, Av. Dr. Fedriani s/n, 41018 Seville, Spain.


The OPG/RANKL/RANK system is important in the balance between bone formation and resorption. We used primary human osteoblasts (hOBs) cells to examine the impact of 17-beta-estradiol (E2) or/and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25D) in OPG/RANKL system in 28 post-menopausal (PM) women; (a) with hip fracture (OP) or (b) with osteoarthritis (OA). The hOB from OP patients proliferated slower during the first stage, than the OA women (31.5+/-2.6 and 21.4+/-1.3 days, respectively, p<0.05). The OP group secreted significantly higher OPG protein levels than the OA women (10.1+/-2.6 and 4.4+/-0.8pmol/L, respectively, p<0.05). The 1,25D and 1,25D+E2 induce an increase in RANKL and RANKL/OPG mRNA expression in OP patients above 200% (p<0.05). HOBs from the osteoporotic hip initially proliferate slower but after reaching the first cellular confluence, the proliferation rate is equal in both groups. Furthermore, hOBs from hips with OP present a higher protein secretion of OPG, and higher RANKL and RANKL/OPG expression ratio in response to 1,25D and 1,25D+E2, than hOBs from OA women. All this could suggest that the greater bone loss that characterizes OP patients can be mediated due to differences in the secretion and expression of the RANKL/OPG system in response to different stimuli.

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