Autoantibodies to osteoprotegerin are associated with low hip bone mineral density and history of fractures in axial spondyloarthritis: A cross-sectional observational study

Barbara Hauser, Sizheng Zhao, Micaela R. Visconti, Philip L. Riches, William D. Fraser, Isabelle Piec, Nicola J. Goodson, Stuart H. Ralston

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Osteoporosis is a recognised complication of axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) and is thought to be due to functional impairment and the osteoclast-activating effects of proinflammatory cytokines. The development of autoantibodies to OPG (OPG-Ab) has been associated with severe osteoporosis and increased bone resorption in rheumatoid arthritis. In this study, we screened for the presence of OPG-Ab in axSpA and reviewed their clinical significance. We studied 134 patients, recruited from two centres in the United Kingdom. Their mean age was 47.5 years and 75% were male. Concentrations of OPG-Ab were related to bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture history using linear and logistic regression models adjusting for age, gender, disease duration and activity, body mass index and bisphosphonate use. We detected OPG-Ab in 11/134 patients (8.2%). Femoral neck and total hip BMD were significantly reduced in OPG-Ab positive patients (0.827 vs. 0.967 g/cm2, p = 0.008 and 0.868 vs. 1.028 g/cm2, p = 0.002, respectively). Regression analysis showed that the presence of OPG-Ab was independently associated with total hip osteopenia (ORadj 24.2; 95% CI 2.57, 228) and history of fractures (ORadj 10.5; 95% CI 2.07, 53.3). OPG-Ab concentration was associated with total hip BMD in g/cm2 (ß = −1.15; 95% CI −0.25, −0.04). There were no associations between OPG-Ab concentration and bone turnover markers, but free sRANKL concentrations were lower in OPG-Ab-positive patients (median 0.04 vs. 0.11 pmol/L, p = 0.050). We conclude that OPG-Ab are associated with hip BMD and fractures in axSpA suggesting that they may contribute to the pathogenesis of bone loss in some patients with this condition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375–383
Number of pages9
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number4
Early online date22 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Axial spondyloarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone mineral density
  • Osteoprotegerin

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