Osteoprotegerin/RANKL system imbalance in active polyarticular-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a bone damage biomarker?Scand J Rheumatol 2008 Nov-Dec; 37(6):439-44SJ
To evaluate the importance of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaB (RANK)/receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaB ligand (RANKL)/osteoprotegerin (OPG) modulation in active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA) patients with and without bone erosions.
Thirty female patients (mean age 11.07+/-3.77 years, range 4-17 years) with active pJIA and 30 healthy gender- and age-matched controls were consecutively selected for this study. All involved articulations were assessed by X-ray and examined for the presence of bone erosions. The serum levels of RANKL and OPG were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Patients with active pJIA had higher levels of serum RANKL than controls [2.90 (0.1-37.4) vs. 0.25 (0.1-5.7) pg/mL, p = 0.007] and a lower OPG/RANKL ratio [21.25 (1.8-897.6) vs. 347.5 (9-947.8), p = 0.005]. However, levels of OPG were comparable in both groups [55.24 (28.34-89.76) vs. 64.42 (30.68-111.28) pg/mL, p = 0.255]. Higher levels of serum RANKL and a lower OPG/RANKL ratio were also observed in active pJIA patients with bone erosions compared to controls [3.49 (0.1-37.4) vs. 0.25 (0.1-5.7) pg/mL, p = 0.0115 and 14.3 (1.8-897.6) vs. 347.5 (9-947.8), p = 0.016]. However, RANKL levels and OPG/RANKL ratio were similar in pJIA patients without bone erosion and controls [1.75 (0.1-10.9) vs. 0.25 (0.1-5.7) pg/mL, p = 0.055 and 29.2 (3.3-756.8) vs. 347.5 (9-947.8), p = 0.281].
These data suggest that active pJIA with bone erosions is associated with high serum levels of RANKL and a low OPG/RANKL ratio, indicating that these alterations may reflect bone damage in this disease.