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Clin Interv Aging. 2010 Nov 19;5:345-54. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S10153.

Receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand and osteoprotegerin: maintaining the balance to prevent bone loss.

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Department of Rheumatology, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France.


Bone remodeling requires a precise balance between resorption and formation. It is a complex process that involves numerous factors: hormones, growth factors, vitamins, and cytokines, and notably osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor activator for nuclear factor-κB (RANK) ligand. The signaling pathway OPG/RANK/RANKL is key to regulation for maintaining the balance between the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts in order to prevent bone loss and ensure a normal bone turnover. In this review, the RANK/RANKL/OPG pathway is described. The multiple interactions of various factors (hormones, cytokines, growth factors, and vitamins) with the OPG/RANK/RANKL pathway are also commented on. Finally, the effects of denosumab, a human monoclonal antibody that binds to RANKL and thereby inhibits the activation of osteoclasts, and of strontium ranelate are also described. Indeed, these two new drugs afford appreciable assistance in daily care practice, helping to prevent bone loss in patients with osteoporosis.


OPG; RANK; RANKL; denosumab; osteoporosis; osteoprotegerin; strontium ranelate

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