Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a secretory glycoprotein belonging to TNF receptor (TNFR) superfamily (1). As the name implies, it protects bone. Unlike other TNFRs it lacks a transmembrane domain and lacks any apparent cell associated signals. OPG consists of 401 amino acid with molecular mass of approximately 55 kD as a monomer and 110 kD as a disulfide-linked dimer. High levels of OPG mRNA has been detected in lung, heart, kidney, and placenta1. Recombinant OPG blocks osteoclastogenesis in vitro and increases bone density in vivo. Targeted deletion of OPG in mice results in severe early-onset of osteoporosity. These mice also exhibit increase in vascular calcification in the aorta and renal arteries suggesting that it may also play a role in degenerative arterial disease.
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