OPG is a new member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor family which plays a key role in the physiological regulation of osteoclastic bone resorption. The protein, which is produced by osteoblasts and marrow stromal cells, lacks a transmembrane domain and acts as a secreted decoy receptor which has no direct signaling capacity. OPG acts by binding to its natural ligand OPGL, which is also known as RANKL (receptor activator of NF-kB ligand). This binding prevents OPGL from activating its cognate receptor RANK, which is the osteoclast receptor vital for osteoclast differentiation, activation and survival. Overexpression of OPG in transgenic mice leads to profound osteopetrosis secondary to a near total lack of osteoclasts. Conversely, ablation of the OPG gene causes severe osteoporosis in mice. Ablation of OPGL or RANK also produces profound osteopetrosis, indicating the important physiological role of these proteins in regulating bone resorption. The secretion of OPG and OPGL from osteoblasts and stromal cells is regulated by numerous hormones and cytokines, often in a reciprocal manner. The relative levels of OPG and OPGL production are thought to ultimately dictate the extent of bone resorption. Excess OPGL increases bone resorption, whereas excess OPG inhibits resorption. Recombinant OPG blocks the effects of virtually all factors which stimulate osteoclasts, in vitro and in vivo. OPG also inhibits bone resorption in a variety of animal disease models, including ovariectomy-induced osteoporosis, humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy, and experimental bone metastasis. OPG might represent an effective therapeutic option for diseases associated with excessive osteoclast activity.
Keywords: Osteoprotegerin, Pharmacological Inhibitor, Bone Resorption, tumor necrosis factor TNF, natural ligand OPGL, RANKL receptor activator of NF kB ligand, osteoclast activity, OSTEOCLASTO GENESIS IN VITRO, OPG Discovery, OPG Gene Structure, OPG Protein Structure