In the differentiation of osteoclasts the differentiation factor (RANKL) interacts with the receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) in a direct cell-to-cell contact between osteoblast and (pre)osteoclast. This is inhibited by soluble osteoprotegerin (OPG). The mRNA levels of both RANKL (p < 0.01) and RANK (p < 0.05) were high in peri-implant tissue and RANKL+ and RANK+ cells were found in such tissue. Double labelling also disclosed soluble RANKL bound to RANK+ cells. We were unable to stimulate fibroblasts to express RANKL in vitro, but monocyte activation with LPS gave a fivefold increase in RANK mRNA levels. In contrast to RANKL and RANK expression in peri-implant tissue, expression of OPG was restricted to vascular endothelium. Endothelial cell OPG mRNA levels were regulated by TNF-α and VEGF, but not by hypoxia. It is concluded that activated cells in the interface tissue overproduce both RANKL and RANK and they can interact without interference by OPG.
- Received March 5, 2002.
- Accepted April 14, 2003.
- © 2003 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery