Osteoprotegerin (OPG) serves as a soluble decoy receptor for RANKL to inhibit osteoclast formation and activity. Hormones such as PTH and glucocorticoids have been reported to decrease OPG concentrations, while estrogens, transforming growth factor b, related bone morphogenic factor and thrombopoietin reportedly enhance the OPG production in the osteoblastic and bone stromal cells. Since bone turnover shows a prominent circadian rhythm in laboratory animals and humans, with bone resorption increasing at night, we investigated the time structure of circulating OPG concentrations in a group of nine healthy subjects (six women and three men; in the age range of 26-49 years). Blood samples for OPG determination were collected every 4 h for 24 h on the same day, starting at 08:00 in the morning. Data were analyzed by inferential statistical procedures, including the single and population-mean cosinor. A 12-h component was found to characterize serum OPG concentrations (P = 0.038) with peak concentrations around noon and midnight. No statistically significant circadian rhythm of OPG concentrations could be found by cosinor in our study population. The mean 24-h OPG concentration was higher in women than in men (mean ± S.E.: 3.13 ± 0.44 vs. 1.94 ± 0.26 pmol/l, Student t = 2.325, P = 0.053). Since PTH concentrations also exhibit a bimodal pattern along the 24-h scale, PTH may be tested as a putative determinant of the observed changes in serum concentrations of osteoprotegerin.
- Bone turnover
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