The clinical coincidence of osteoporosis and vascular disease has long indicated that common mediators may adversely affect bone metabolism and vascular integrity alike. Receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL) is an important cytokine for bone resorption that acts through its osteoclastic receptor, receptor activator of NF-kappaB (RANK), while osteoprotegerin serves as a decoy receptor that binds RANKL and prevents activation of RANK. Skeletal and vascular cells are sources and targets of RANKL and OPG both in vitro and in vivo. Modulation of the RANKL/RANK/OPG system in animals results in a skeletal and vascular phenotype, and administration of OPG may prevent osteoporosis and vascular calcification. Recent studies on OPG serum levels and gene polymorphisms also suggest an important role of this cytokine system in skeletal and vascular diseases. In summary, there is increasing evidence that RANKL and OPG may link the skeletal with the vascular system.