Serum osteoprotegerin is a predictor for incident cardiovascular disease and mortality in a general population: the Tromsø Study


Anders Vik, Center for Atherothrombotic Research in Tromsø (CART), Department of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway.
Tel.: +47 776 26305; fax: +47 776 26831.


Summary. Background: Osteoprotegerin (OPG) concentration in serum is associated with the presence and severity of atherosclerosis. Objective: To investigate the association between serum osteoprotegerin and the risk of a future myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke and mortality in a general population. Patients/methods: OPG was measured in serum collected from 6265 subjects recruited from a general population without a prior myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke (the Tromsø Study). Incident myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke and mortality were registered during follow-up. Cox regression models were used to estimate crude and adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (HR; 95% CI). Results: There were 575 myocardial infarctions, 284 ischemic strokes and 824 deaths (146 deaths as a result of ischemic heart disease, 78 deaths because of stroke and 600 deaths due to other causes) in the cohort during a median of 10.6 years of follow-up. Serum OPG (per SD [1.13 ng mL−1] increase in OPG) was associated with an increased risk of a myocardial infarction (1.20; 1.11–1.31), ischemic stroke (1.32; 1.18–1.47), total mortality (1.34; 1.26–1.42), death because of ischemic heart disease, (1.35; 1.18–1.54), stroke (1.44; 1.19–1.75) and non-vascular causes (1.31; 1.22–1.41) after adjustment for age, gender, current smoking, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, total cholesterol, creatinine, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) and diabetes mellitus or HbA1c > 6.1%. No association was detected between OPG and incident hemorrhagic stroke (1.02; 0.73–1.43). Conclusions: Serum OPG was associated with future risk of myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, total mortality, mortality of ischemic heart disease, stroke and of non-vascular causes independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.