Over the last years our knowledge on the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease has been enriched by the discovery of new molecules emerging as novel risk factors. Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a soluble glycoprotein, member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related superfamily, involved in bone resorption. It was first described as a key regulator of bone homeostasis and vascular calcification in mice. Clinical studies have suggested that serum OPG is associated with vascular calcification in humans. The role of OPG in the development of macroangiopathy in diabetes is not yet clear. It is possible that the increased OPG levels in diabetes reflect a compensatory response to arterial injury and that it is not involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Whether harmful or not, determination of serum OPG levels has been suggested as a prognostic biomarker of cardiovascular disease. In addition, increased OPG levels have been reported in diabetic patients with microvascular complications. The potential of OPG administration for therapeutic reasons is challenging for future investigators. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the association between OPG and macrovascular as well microvascular complications of diabetes.
Keywords: Diabetes, osteoprotegerin, OPG, RANKL, RANK, atherosclerosis, arterial calcification, vascular disease, glycoprotein
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