Objective: we aimed to study systemic sclerosis patients in order to
assess osteoprotegerin/Receptor activator of nuclear factor-kB ligand
(OPG/RANKL) system and find the relation of these biomarkers with
the clinical features of the disease, the carotid intima thickness,
markers of inflammation, lipid profile, and other laboratory
Methods: both the level of (RANKL), (OPG) in sera of participants, in
30 (SSc) patients and the atherosclerotic changes affecting the common
carotid artery were measured and, were compared to 30 healthy
controls matched for age and sex. All participants were assessed
clinically and subjected to the Revised Medsger SSc severity scale
and underwent carotid Doppler ultrasound examination.
Results: OPG, RANKL, and RANKL/OPG were 1.9 ± 0.4 ng/ml,
24.3 ± 17.25 ng/ml, and 13.5 ±9.8 versus 0.77 ± 0.25 ng/ml,
7.13 ± 3.02 ng/ml, and 9.6 ± 3.1 in the SSc patients and the controls
with significance (P = 0.001, P = 0.001, P = 0.045) respectively. The
OPG- RANKL axis in the SSc patients correlated significantly with
carotid intima thickness, arthritis, arthralgia, inflammatory markers,
Medsger joint, Medsger vascular, Medsger skin, and dyslipidemia.
Conclusion: In cardiovascular risks, OPG serum level might increase
as a preventive compensatory mechanism to neutralize the RANKL
level increment. The determination of the OPG-RANKL system is a
diagnostic indicator for the intensity of vascular calcification and
atherosclerosis in SSc patients.