Osteopontin in the spotlight

Last updated: 27th May, 2022

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Osteoporosis is a disease which weakens the bone structure and leads to greater risk of sudden and unexpected bone fractures1.

  • About 200 million affected world-wide
  • Occurs 4x more likely in women than in men
  • Figure 1: Comparison of healthy and osteoporosis affected bone.3

    After age 50 an osteoporosis-related fracture becomes likely
  • Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 2 million fractures per year 2

Osteoporosis means porous bone and is a metabolic bone disease that leads to weak and fragile bones due to bone loss and bone formation (Figure 1).3


  • Plays a role in bone metabolism and homeostasis
  • Is involved in bone related diseases e.g. osteoporosis
  • Has become a research hotspot

Osteopontin (OPN) is a transformation-associated phosphoprotein and belongs to the small integrin-binding ligand N-linked glycoprotein (SIBLING) family. It is secreted by cells undergoing complex translation and modifications to aid their biological activities and functions. OPN has been demonstrated to be closely related to the occurrence and development of many bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteosarcoma.4


High levels of OPN are an important risk factor for osteoporosis, which positively regulates osteoclasts and inhibits bone mineral deposition. Lack of OPN can increase fracture sensitivity in patients with osteoporosis. The study of OPN by Si et al. provides new ideas and directions of the parthenogenesis and for therapy. 4

Role of osteopontin in several diseases:

Osteopontin plays not only a role in osteoporosis but also in atherosclerosis5, Cardiovascular disease6 and cancer7. In case of atherosclerosis the wall of the artery develops abnormalities, the so-called lesions and lead to the narrowing of the artery.

The study by Matsui et al. investigated if osteopontin has a promotional effect in atherosclerosis and inhibitory effect in calcification. The suppression of OPN expression in females should be considered a therapeutic possibility in atherosclerosis. The atherosclerotic lesion area in the entire aorta was carefully determined on 93 mice and individual data points are plotted by genotype and sex, which can be seen in Figure 2.5 


The results by Matsui et al. suggest that OPN has a promotional effect in atherosclerosis and inhibitory effect in vascular calcification. The suppression of OPN expression in females should be considered a therapeutic possibility in atherosclerosis.5 

The important role of Osteopontin has been recognised in the onset and progression of several diseases, including:

Assay solutions for the detection of Osteopontin: 

Osteopontin ELISA JP27158 →
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Osteopontin N-Half ELISA JP27258 →
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Assay solutions for related research area:

Bone and Mineral Metabolism View Here →
Hypertension View Here →
Cancer View Here →

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  1. Evangelos P. Daskalopoulos, W. Matthijs Blankesteijn, The Pharmacology of WNT Signaling, Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences, Elsevier, 2021, ISBN 9780128012383.
  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4443-osteoporosis
  3. https://endocrineassociatesdallas.com/endocrinology/osteoporosis/
  4. Si J, Wang C, Zhang D, Wang B, Zhou Y. Osteopontin in Bone Metabolism and Bone Diseases. Med Sci Monit. 2020; 26:e919159. doi:10.12659/MSM.919159
  5. Matsui, Y., Rittling, S. R., Okamoto, H., Inobe, M., Jia, N., Shimizu, T., … & Uede, T. Osteopontin deficiency attenuates atherosclerosis in female apolipoprotein E–deficient mice. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2003; 23(6):1029. doi: 0.1161/01.ATV.0000074878.29805.D0
  6. Shirakawa K, Sano M. Osteopontin in Cardiovascular Diseases. 2021; 11(7):1047. doi: 10.3390/biom11071047.
  7. Zhao Y, Huang C. The role of osteopontin in the development and metastasis of melanoma. Melanoma Res. 2021; 31(4):283. doi: 10.1097/CMR.0000000000000753.

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