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Med Sci Monit. 2012 Oct;18(10):CR597-604.

Correlation of plasma osteoprotegerin (OPG) and receptor activator of the nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) levels with clinical risk factors in patients with advanced carotid atherosclerosis.

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Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Medical School, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.



Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is considered to be a crucial regulatory mediator of bone metabolism by acting as a decoy receptor of the receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL). OPG and RANKL have further become the subject of intense interest for their potential role in cardiovascular disease. The present study aimed to assess the clinical implication of plasma OPG and RANKL levels in patients with advanced carotid atherosclerosis.


Plasma OPG and RANKL concentrations measured by solid-phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were correlated with medical history, risk factors and medication intake in 131 patients who underwent carotid endarterectomy for vascular repair.


Plasma OPG concentrations were associated with patients' age (p=0.0258), homocysteine levels (p<0.00001), eGFR (p=0.0254), history of diabetes (p=0.0324), statins therapy (p=0.0044), hyperlipidemia (p=0.0407), smoking (p=0.0226) and CAD (p=0.0377). Plasma RANKL concentrations were associated with patients' age (p=0.0191), homocysteine levels (p<0.00001), history of smoking (p=0.0185) and statins therapy (p=0.0004). Diabetes, CAD, smoking status, statins therapy and homocysteine were identified as independent predictors of OPG concentrations (p=0.0157, p=0.0030, p=0.0249, p=0.0047 and p=0.0072, respectively), whereas smoking showed an independent effect for RANKL (p=0.0010).


The present data reinforce the clinical utility of OPG in carotid atherosclerosis, whereas the clinical implication of RANKL seems uncertain.

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