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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Increased levels of serum osteoprotegerin in hypothyroid patients and its normalization with restoration of normal thyroid function.

Hypothyroidism is associated with increased morbidity from cardiovascular disease, and an increase in serum osteoprotegerin (OPG) has recently been reported to be associated with the severity of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular mortality. The present study was designed to examine whether hypothyroidism causes an increase in serum OPG, and to determine whether levothyroxine (L-T4) replacement therapy might suppress serum OPG levels in hypothyroid patients. Fifty-three hypothyroid patients with chronic thyroiditis and age- and sex-matched normal control subjects were examined for the levels of serum OPG and plasma von Willebrand factor (vWF), a vascular injury marker. Thirty-seven of the hypothyroid patients were further monitored for changes in these markers during 1 year in a euthyroid state induced by L-T4 replacement therapy. Baseline OPG was significantly higher in hypothyroid patients than in normal controls (4.51 +/- 0.50 vs 3.72 +/- 0.23 pmol/l (mean +/- S.E.); P = 0.0182). In multivariate analysis, baseline OPG was significantly associated with baseline levels of TSH (r = 0.280, P = 0.0162) and vWF (r = 0.626, P < 0.0001). During one year of L-T4 replacement therapy, hypothyroid patients showed a significant decrease in OPG levels from 4.35 +/- 0.51 to 3.48 +/- 0.26 pmol/l (P = 0.0166), a level comparable to normal controls. The change in serum OPG levels during L-T4 replacement therapy was significantly and independently associated in a negative fashion with baseline vWF (r = -0.503, P = 0.0014). This study suggested that the severity of hypothyroidism and vascular injury might have important independent roles in increasing the serum OPG level in hypothyroid patients. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that a sustained euthyroid state might have the potential to decrease the serum OPG level in hypothyroid patients and that the degree of vascular injury in the hypothyroid state is independently associated with a decrease in serum OPG during a 1-year normalization of thyroid function.[1]


  1. Increased levels of serum osteoprotegerin in hypothyroid patients and its normalization with restoration of normal thyroid function. Nagasaki, T., Inaba, M., Jono, S., Hiura, Y., Tahara, H., Shirakawa, K., Onoda, N., Ishikawa, T., Ishimura, E., Nishizawa, Y. Eur. J. Endocrinol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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