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Ther Apher Dial. 2018 Oct;22(5):519-529. doi: 10.1111/1744-9987.12681. Epub 2018 Jul 4.

Elevated Circulating Osteoprotegerin Levels in the Plasma of Hemodialyzed Patients With Severe Artery Calcification.

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Department of Nephrology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland.
Department of Medical Diagnostics, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland.
Department of Histology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland.
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland.
Department of Internal Medicine and Gerontology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland.


We studied the correlations between circulating osteoprotegerin (OPG) level and radial artery calcification (RAC) assessed histologically and carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT). Moreover, we studied the relationship between OPG levels and all-cause and cardiovascular (CV) mortality during a 5-year observation period. The study comprised 59 CKD patients (36 hemodialyzed (HD), 23 predialysis). The biochemical parameters included: creatinine, calcium, phosphate, intact parathormone, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor receptor II (TNFRII), transforming growth factor-β, hepatocyte growth factor, fibroblast growth factor 23, osteonectin (ON), osteopontin, osteoprotegerin, and osteocalcin. CCA-IMT and the presence of atherosclerotic plaques was assessed by ultrasound. Fragments of radial artery obtained during creation of HD access were prepared for microscopy and stained for calcifications with alizarin red. RAC was detected in 34 patients (58%). In multiple regression adjusted for dialysis status, TNFRII, ON and Framingham risk score (FRS) were identified as the independent predictors of OPG. Serum OPG above the median value of 7.55 pmol/L significantly predicted the presence of RAC in simple logistic regression (OR 5.33; 95%CI 1.39-20.4; P = 0.012) and in multiple logistic regression adjusted for FRS, dialysis status and CCA-IMT values (OR 6.56; 95%CI 1.06-40.6; P = 0.036). OPG levels above the median were associated with higher CCA-IMT values (1.02 ± 0.10 vs. 0.86 ± 0.13; P < 0.001) and predicted the presence of atherosclerotic plaques in carotid artery (OR 14.4; 95%CI 2.84-72.9; P < 0.001), independently of FRS, dialysis status and RAC. In this study, elevated serum OPG levels correlated with higher CCA-IMT, the presence of atherosclerotic plaques and the severity of the RAC independently of each other. During follow-up, 25 patients (42%) died, including 21 due to CV causes. In multiple Cox regression, OPG above the median predicted overall survival independently of dialysis status, Framingham risk score, CCA-IMT above the median value, and the presence of atherosclerotic plaques in CCA, but not independently of RAC. We postulate that circulating OPG may play a dual role as a marker for both medial arterial calcification and atherosclerosis, hence it seems to be a valuable tool for assessing CV risk in patients with CKD. OPG might be an early indicator of all-cause mortality in CKD patients with advanced medial arterial calcification.


Chronic kidney disease; Common carotid artery, Intima-media thickness; Hemodialysis; Mortality; Osteoprotegerin; Radial artery calcification

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