Molecular control of bone remodeling and osteoporosis

Exp Gerontol. 2000 Oct;35(8):947-56. doi: 10.1016/s0531-5565(00)00178-9.


Osteoprotegerin ligand (OPGL, TNFS11) and its receptor RANK (TNFRS11A) are essential for the development and activation of osteoclasts and critical regulators of physiological bone remodeling and osteoporosis. Production of OPGL by activated T cells can directly regulate osteoclastogenesis and bone remodeling. This may explain why autoimmune diseases, cancers, leukemias, asthma and chronic viral infections such as hepatitis and HIV result in systemic and local bone loss. OPGL is also the pathogenetic factor that causes bone and cartilage destruction and clinical crippling in arthritis. Inhibition of OPGL binding to RANK via the natural decoy receptor osteoprotegerin (OPG) prevents bone loss in postmenopausal osteoporosis and cancer metastases and completely blocks crippling in a rat model of arthritis. Moreover, OPG expression is induced by estrogen which provides a molecular explanation of postmenopausal osteoporosis in women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis / etiology
  • Arthritis / metabolism
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / growth & development
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / etiology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / metabolism
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • RANK Ligand
  • Rats
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • RANK Ligand
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • TNFRSF11A protein, human
  • TNFRSF11B protein, human
  • TNFSF11 protein, human
  • Tnfrsf11a protein, mouse
  • Tnfrsf11b protein, mouse
  • Tnfrsf11b protein, rat
  • Tnfsf11 protein, mouse