© 2017 The Author(s). Background: Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a glycoprotein that plays an important regulatory role in the skeletal, vascular, and immune system. It has been shown that OPG predicts chronic kidney disease (CKD) in diabetic patients. We hypothesized that OPG could be a risk marker of CKD development also in non-diabetic hypertensive patients. Methods: A case-control study was carried out to measure circulating OPG levels in 42 hypertensive patients with CKD and in 141 hypertensive patients without CKD. A potential relationship between OPG and the presence of CKD was investigated and a receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve was designed thereafter to identify a cut-off value of OPG that best explained the presence of CKD. Secondly, to evaluate whether OPG increase could affect the kidney, 18 C57BL/6J mice were randomized to be treated with saline or recombinant OPG every 3 weeks for 12 weeks. Results: Circulating OPG levels were significantly higher in hypertensive patients with CKD, and there was a significant inverse association between OPG and renal function, that was independent from other variables. ROC analysis showed that OPG levels had a high statistically predictive value on CKD in hypertensive patients, which was greater than that of hypertension. The OPG best cut-off value associated with CKD was 1109.19 ng/L. In the experimental study, OPG delivery significantly increased the gene expression of pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic mediators, as well as the glomerular nitrosylation of proteins. Conclusions: This study shows that OPG is associated with CKD in hypertensive patients, where it might have a higher predictive value than that of hypertension for CKD development. Secondly, we found that OPG delivery significantly increased the expression of molecular pathways involved in kidney damage. Further longitudinal studies are needed not only to evaluate whether OPG predicts CKD development but also to clarify whether OPG should be considered a risk factor for CKD.
- Chronic kidney disease