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Metabolism. 2011 Jul;60(7):994-1000. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2010.10.001. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

Similar to adiponectin, serum levels of osteoprotegerin are associated with obesity in healthy subjects.

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  • 1Centre for Preventive Medicine, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland.


An increase in serum osteoprotegerin (OPG) is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus, the severity of vascular calcification, and coronary artery disease. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but little is known about the relationship between OPG and obesity. The purpose of this study was to determine if changes in body mass index (BMI) and insulin sensitivity influence circulating OPG in healthy subjects. A total of 100 subjects (36 lean, 41 overweight, and 23 obese) with normal glucose tolerance, blood pressure, and electrocardiogram stress test result volunteered for this study. Insulin sensitivity was estimated using a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test with oral glucose insulin sensitivity analysis. Osteoprotegerin, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL),soluble receptor activator of nuclear factor-κβ ligand (sRANKL), and adiponectin were analyzed using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Osteoprotegerin (P < .01) and adiponectin (P < .001) were significantly decreased in the obese compared with lean subjects. There was no significant difference between BMI categories for TRAIL or sRANKL. Controlling for age and sex, there was a significant correlation between OPG and adiponectin (r = 0.391, P < .001), BMI (r = -0.331, P < .001), waist circumference (r = -0.268, P < .01), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (r = -0.222, P < .05), and oral glucose insulin sensitivity (r = 0.221, P < .05). Both OPG and adiponectin were negatively correlated with body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and fasting plasma insulin while being positively correlated with insulin sensitivity (P < .05). Controlling for age, sex, and BMI, TRAIL was positively related to fat mass (r = 0.373, P < .001) and waist circumference (r = 0.257, P < .05). In contrast to patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, circulating OPG is lower in obese, but otherwise healthy subjects and is positively correlated with indices of insulin sensitivity.

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