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      Osteoprotegerin Reverses Osteoporosis by Inhibiting Endosteal Osteoclasts and Prevents Vascular Calcification by Blocking a Process Resembling Osteoclastogenesis


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          High systemic levels of osteoprotegerin (OPG) in OPG transgenic mice cause osteopetrosis with normal tooth eruption and bone elongation and inhibit the development and activity of endosteal, but not periosteal, osteoclasts. We demonstrate that both intravenous injection of recombinant OPG protein and transgenic overexpression of OPG in OPG −/2 mice effectively rescue the osteoporotic bone phenotype observed in OPG-deficient mice. However, intravenous injection of recombinant OPG over a 4-wk period could not reverse the arterial calcification observed in OPG −/− mice. In contrast, transgenic OPG delivered from mid-gestation through adulthood does prevent the formation of arterial calcification in OPG −/− mice. Although OPG is normally expressed in arteries, OPG ligand (OPGL) and receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) are not detected in the arterial walls of wild-type adult mice. Interestingly, OPGL and RANK transcripts are detected in the calcified arteries of OPG −/− mice. Furthermore, RANK transcript expression coincides with the presence of multinuclear osteoclast-like cells. These findings indicate that the OPG/OPGL/RANK signaling pathway may play an important role in both pathological and physiological calcification processes. Such findings may also explain the observed high clinical incidence of vascular calcification in the osteoporotic patient population.

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          Osteoclast differentiation factor is a ligand for osteoprotegerin/osteoclastogenesis-inhibitory factor and is identical to TRANCE/RANKL.

          Osteoclasts, the multinucleated cells that resorb bone, develop from hematopoietic cells of monocyte/macrophage lineage. Osteoclast-like cells (OCLs) are formed by coculturing spleen cells with osteoblasts or bone marrow stromal cells in the presence of bone-resorbing factors. The cell-to-cell interaction between osteoblasts/stromal cells and osteoclast progenitors is essential for OCL formation. Recently, we purified and molecularly cloned osteoclastogenesis-inhibitory factor (OCIF), which was identical to osteoprotegerin (OPG). OPG/OCIF is a secreted member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family and inhibits osteoclastogenesis by interrupting the cell-to-cell interaction. Here we report the expression cloning of a ligand for OPG/OCIF from a complementary DNA library of mouse stromal cells. The protein was found to be a member of the membrane-associated tumor necrosis factor ligand family and induced OCL formation from osteoclast progenitors. A genetically engineered soluble form containing the extracellular domain of the protein induced OCL formation from spleen cells in the absence of osteoblasts/stromal cells. OPG/OCIF abolished the OCL formation induced by the protein. Expression of its gene in osteoblasts/stromal cells was up-regulated by bone-resorbing factors. We conclude that the membrane-bound protein is osteoclast differentiation factor (ODF), a long-sought ligand mediating an essential signal to osteoclast progenitors for their differentiation into osteoclasts. ODF was found to be identical to TRANCE/RANKL, which enhances T-cell growth and dendritic-cell function. ODF seems to be an important regulator in not only osteoclastogenesis but also immune system.
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            Tumor necrosis factor receptor family member RANK mediates osteoclast differentiation and activation induced by osteoprotegerin ligand.

            A receptor that mediates osteoprotegerin ligand (OPGL)-induced osteoclast differentiation and activation has been identified via genomic analysis of a primary osteoclast precursor cell cDNA library and is identical to the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) family member RANK. The RANK mRNA was highly expressed by isolated bone marrow-derived osteoclast progenitors and by mature osteoclasts in vivo. Recombinant OPGL binds specifically to RANK expressed by transfected cell lines and purified osteoclast progenitors. Transgenic mice expressing a soluble RANK-Fc fusion protein have severe osteopetrosis because of a reduction in osteoclasts, similar to OPG transgenic mice. Recombinant RANK-Fc binds with high affinity to OPGL in vitro and blocks osteoclast differentiation and activation in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, polyclonal Ab against the RANK extracellular domain promotes osteoclastogenesis in bone marrow cultures suggesting that RANK activation mediates the effects of OPGL on the osteoclast pathway. These data indicate that OPGL-induced osteoclastogenesis is directly mediated through RANK on osteoclast precursor cells.
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              Identity of osteoclastogenesis inhibitory factor (OCIF) and osteoprotegerin (OPG): a mechanism by which OPG/OCIF inhibits osteoclastogenesis in vitro.

              The morphogenesis and remodeling of bone depends on the integrated activity of osteoblasts that form bone and osteoclasts that resorb bone. We previously reported the isolation of a new cytokine termed osteoclastogenesis inhibitory factor, OCIF, which specifically inhibits osteoclast development. Here we report the cloning of a complementary DNA of human OCIF. OCIF is identical to osteoprotegerin (OPG), a soluble member of the tumor-necrosis factor receptor family that inhibits osteoclastogenesis. Recombinant human OPG/OCIF specifically acts on bone tissues and increases bone mineral density and bone volume associated with a decrease of active osteoclast number in normal rats. Osteoblasts or bone marrow-derived stromal cells support osteoclastogenesis through cell-to-cell interactions. A single class of high affinity binding sites for OPG/OCIF appears on a mouse stromal cell line, ST2, in response to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. An anti-OPG/OCIF antibody that blocks the binding abolishes the biological activity of OPG/OCIF. When the sites are blocked with OPG/OCIF, ST2 cells fail to support osteoclastogenesis. These results suggest that the sites are involved in cell-to-cell signaling between stromal cells and osteoclast progenitors and that OPG/OCIF inhibits osteoclastogenesis by interrupting the signaling through the sites.

                Author and article information

                J Exp Med
                The Journal of Experimental Medicine
                The Rockefeller University Press
                21 August 2000
                : 192
                : 4
                : 463-474
                [a ]Department of Biosystems Analysis, Amgen, Incorporated, Thousand Oaks, California 91320
                [b ]Department of Pharmacology/Pathology, Amgen, Incorporated, Thousand Oaks, California 91320
                [c ]Department of Inflammation, Amgen, Incorporated, Thousand Oaks, California 91320
                © 2000 The Rockefeller University Press
                Original Article

                pathologic calcification,vascular disease,atherosclerosis,osteoprotegerin,osteoporosis
                pathologic calcification, vascular disease, atherosclerosis, osteoprotegerin, osteoporosis


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