Osteoprotegerin is bound, internalized, and degraded by multiple myeloma cells

Blood. 2002 Oct 15;100(8):3002-7. doi: 10.1182/blood-2002-04-1190.


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematologic malignancy characterized by accumulation of plasma cells in the bone marrow (BM). Bone destruction is a complication of the disease and is usually associated with severe morbidity. The balance between receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) ligand and osteoprotegerin (OPG) is of major importance in bone homeostasis. We have recently shown that serum OPG levels are lower in patients with myeloma than in healthy individuals. Here we show that myeloma cells can bind, internalize, and degrade OPG, thereby providing a possible explanation for the lower levels of OPG in the BM of patients with MM. This process is dependent on interaction of OPG with heparan sulfates on the myeloma cells. The results suggest a novel biologic mechanism for the bone disease associated with MM and that treatment of the bone disease with OPG lacking the heparin-binding domain should be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Biological Transport
  • Biopsy
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism*
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Glycoproteins
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • TNFRSF11B protein, human