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The role of osteoprotegerin in arthritis

Georg Schett*, Kurt Redlich and Josef S Smolen

Author Affiliations

Department of Internal Medicine III, Division of Rheumatology, University of Vienna, Austria

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Arthritis Res Ther 2003, 5:239-245  doi:10.1186/ar990

Published: 8 August 2003


Bone erosion is a hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis. Recent evidence from experimental arthritis suggests that osteoclasts are essential for the formation of local bone erosions. Two essential regulators of osteoclastogenesis have recently been described: the receptor-activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand, which promotes osteoclast maturation, and osteoprotegerin (OPG), which blocks osteoclastogenesis. The present review summarizes the current knowledge on the role of osteoclasts in local bone erosion. In addition, the role of OPG as a therapeutic tool to inhibit local bone erosion is addressed. Finally, evidence for OPG as an inhibitor of systemic inflammatory bone loss is discussed.

bone erosion; osteoclasts; osteoporosis; osteoprotegerin; rheumatoid arthritis