Previous in vitro studies suggest that the anti-resorptive effect of raloxifene might be mediated by changes in several cytokines involved in the bone remodeling process. In this context, the osteoprotegerin (OPG)- receptor activator of NF kappa B ligand (RANKL) system is considered a key component in the osteoclastogenesis regulation. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of raloxifene treatment on serum concentrations of OPG, receptor RANKL and its relationship with biochemical markers of bone turnover and bone mineral density (BMD) in previously untreated women with post-menopausal osteoporosis. We selected 47 post-menopausal women (mean age 63+/-7 yr) with densitometric criteria of osteoporosis. We determined at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months anthropometric parameters, biochemical markers of bone turnover, serum levels of 25(OH) D, serum levels of OPG and RANKL. BMD (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) in lumbar spine (LS) femoral neck and total hip was measured at baseline and 12 months after raloxifene (60 mg/day) treatment. Serum levels of OPG decreased in the 3rd and 6th month of treatment (p<0.001) and returned to basal levels in the 12th month. There was a significant decrease of RANKL levels and OPG/RANKL ratio after 1 yr of raloxifene treatment. In addition, BMD in LS increased significantly (2.5%) in the 12th month of treatment (p=0.031). Finally, the biochemical markers of bone turnover (total alkaline phosphatase, bone alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase, urine cross-linked carboxi-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen) decreased significantly from the 3rd month of treatment. In conclusion, our results support the hypothesis that raloxifene may inhibit osteoclast activity, at least partly modulating the OPG-RANKL system.