What is the role of receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL) and receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B (RANK) in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis?

Updated: Sep 26, 2019
  • Author: Monique Bethel, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

The receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL)/receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B (RANK)/osteoprotegerin (OPG) system is the final common pathway for bone resorption. Osteoblasts and activated T cells in the bone marrow produce the RANKL cytokine. RANKL binds to RANK expressed by osteoclasts and osteoclast precursors to promote osteoclast differentiation. OPG is a soluble decoy receptor that inhibits RANK-RANKL by binding and sequestering RANKL.


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