Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Increased bone turnover is a hallmark of hyperthyroidism. The underlying factors of how thyroid hormones affect bone cells are still under the spotlight. Previous studies indicated serum osteoprotegerin (OPG), receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) as mediators of the effect of thyroid hormones on bone metabolism. Ultimately, the present research aimed to examine the association of IL-6 with OPG and RANKL in patients with hyperthyroidism. Materials and methods: We carried out this study with 39 newly diagnosed and untreated Graves' patients and 43 healthy controls. In addition to routine tests, we measured serum OPG, RANKL, and IL-6 levels. Results: Mean age and sex distribution were similar in both groups. The hyperthyroid group had significantly higher OPG (p = 0.002) and IL-6 (p < 0.001) levels, but RANKL levels were significantly lower in this group (p < 0.001). We found OPG not to correlate with free T4 and T3, while it had a moderate and negative correlation with thyrotropin (TSH) (r = -0.372, p = 0.001). IL-6 had no correlation with OPG but positively correlated with free T4 (r = 0.445, p < 0.001) and free T3 (r = 0.326, p = 0.035). It also negatively correlated with RANKL (r = -0.247, p = 0.033). Conclusion: Maintaining skeletal development and integrity is partially regulated by a normal balance of thyroid hormones. We concluded that increases in serum OPG and IL-6 levels accompanied hyperthyroidism. However, excessive levels of the hormones might cause drops in serum RANKL levels. Our results suggested that OPG, RANKL, and IL-6 might be involved in the cross-talking among immunity, thyroid function, and bone metabolism in the case of hyperthyroidism.


Graves' disease, osteoprotegerin, receptor activator of NF-kB ligand, interleukin-6, bone, immunity

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