Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is localized to the Weibel-Palade bodies of human vascular endothelial cells and is physically associated with von Willebrand factor

A. C W Zannettino, C. A. Holding, P. Diamond, G. J. Atkins, P. Kostakis, A. Farrugia, J. Gamble, L. B. To, D. M. Findlay, D. R. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies demonstrate roles for osteoprotegerin (OPG) in both skeletal and extra-skeletal tissues. Although its role in preventing osteoclast (OC) formation and activity is well documented, emerging evidence suggests a role of OPG in endothelial cell survival and the prevention of arterial calcification. In this communication, we show that vascular endothelial cells in situ, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) in vitro, express abundant OPG. In HUVEC, OPG co-localizes with P-selectin and von Willebrand factor (vWF), within the Weibel-Palade bodies (WPB). Treatment of HUVEC with the pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and IL-1β, resulted in mobilization from the WPBs and subsequent secretion of OPG protein into the culture supernatant. Furthermore, TNF-α treatment of HUVEC resulted in a sustained increase in OPG mRNA levels and protein secretion over the 24-h treatment period. Reciprocal immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that while not associated with P-Selectin, OPG is physicalIy complexed with vWF both within the WPB and following secretion from endothelial cells. Interestingly, this association was also identified in human peripheral blood plasma. In addition to its interaction with vWF, we show that OPG also binds with high avidity to the vWF reductase, thrombospondin (TSP-1), raising the intriguing possibility that OPG may provide a link between TSP-1 and vWF. In summary, the intracellular localization of OPG in HUVEC, in association with vWF, together with its rapid and sustained secretory response to inflammatory stimuli, strongly support a modulatory role in vascular injury, inflammation and hemostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-723
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Cite this