Osteoprotegerin is an Early Marker of the Fibrotic Process and of Antifibrotic Treatment Responses in Ex Vivo Lung Fibrosis

Kurnia S S Putri, Adhyatmika Adhyatmika, Carian E Boorsma, Habibie Habibie, Mitchel J R Ruigrok, Peter Heukels, Wim Timens, Marina H de Jager, Wouter L J Hinrichs, Peter Olinga, Barbro N Melgert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Lung fibrosis is a chronic lung disease with a high mortality rate with only two approved drugs (pirfenidone and nintedanib) to attenuate its progression. To date, there are no reliable biomarkers to assess fibrosis development and/or treatment effects for these two drugs. Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is used as a serum marker to diagnose liver fibrosis and we have previously shown it associates with lung fibrosis as well.

METHODS: Here we used murine and human precision-cut lung slices to investigate the regulation of OPG in lung tissue to elucidate whether it tracks with (early) fibrosis development and responds to antifibrotic treatment to assess its potential use as a biomarker.

RESULTS: OPG mRNA expression in murine lung slices was higher after treatment with profibrotic cytokines TGFβ1 or IL13, and closely correlated with Fn and PAI1 mRNA expression. More OPG protein was released from fibrotic human lung slices than from the control human slices and from TGFβ1 and IL13-stimulated murine lung slices compared to control murine slices. This OPG release was inhibited when murine slices were treated with pirfenidone or nintedanib. OPG release from human fibrotic lung slices was inhibited by pirfenidone treatment.

CONCLUSION: OPG can already be detected during the early stages of fibrosis development and responds, both in early- and late-stage fibrosis, to treatment with antifibrotic drugs currently on the market for lung fibrosis. Therefore, OPG should be further investigated as a potential biomarker for lung fibrosis and a potential surrogate marker for treatment effect.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20-Apr-2024


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