Osteoprotegerin (OPG), a soluble member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor family, is an osteoclastogenesis inhibitory factor. We investigated the localization of OPG in rat tibia using a specific peptide antibody to clarify the role of OPG in bone remodeling. OPG reactivity was mainly seen on bone surfaces. In bone matrices, OPG was also localized on cartilage/bone interfaces and cement lines. However, labeling was scarcely detected in the region of contact between osteoclasts and stromal cells. Some osteoblasts and osteocytes showed weak labeling. Immunoreactivity was not seen in chondrocytes or osteoclasts. Immunoelectron microscopic observation revealed that OPG is localized on the bone surfaces under osteoclasts. These findings suggest that OPG derived from osteoblast lineage cells and/or serum may be concentrated on resorbed bone surfaces and subsequently on cement lines. OPG may play an important role in the prevention of excess bone resorption by inhibiting differentiation and activity of osteoclasts in bone remodeling.