BMP-9 regulates the osteoblastic differentiation and calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells through an ALK1 mediated pathway.
ABSTRACT: The process of vascular calcification shares many similarities with that of physiological skeletal mineralization, and involves the deposition of hydroxyapatite crystals in arteries. However, the cellular mechanisms responsible have yet to be fully explained. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP-9) has been shown to exert direct effects on both bone development and vascular function. In the present study, we have investigated the role of BMP-9 in vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) calcification. Vessel calcification in chronic kidney disease (CKD) begins pre-dialysis, with factors specific to the dialysis milieu triggering accelerated calcification. Intriguingly, BMP-9 was markedly elevated in serum from CKD children on dialysis. Furthermore, in vitro studies revealed that BMP-9 treatment causes a significant increase in VSMC calcium content, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and mRNA expression of osteogenic markers. BMP-9-induced calcium deposition was significantly reduced following treatment with the ALP inhibitor 2,5-Dimethoxy-N-(quinolin-3-yl) benzenesulfonamide confirming the mediatory role of ALP in this process. The inhibition of ALK1 signalling using a soluble chimeric protein significantly reduced calcium deposition and ALP activity, confirming that BMP-9 is a physiological ALK1 ligand. Signal transduction studies revealed that BMP-9 induced Smad2, Smad3 and Smad1/5/8 phosphorylation. As these Smad proteins directly bind to Smad4 to activate target genes, siRNA studies were subsequently undertaken to examine the functional role of Smad4 in VSMC calcification. Smad4-siRNA transfection induced a significant reduction in ALP activity and calcium deposition. These novel data demonstrate that BMP-9 induces VSMC osteogenic differentiation and calcification via ALK1, Smad and ALP dependent mechanisms. This may identify new potential therapeutic strategies for clinical intervention.
Project description:Diabetes and vascular calcification are intrinsically linked. We previously reported that advanced glycation end products (AGEs) accelerate calcium deposition in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) via excessive oxidative stress. However, the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) is an important mitochondrial matrix enzyme in cellular energy metabolism. Since hyperactivation of PDK4 has been reported in calcified vessels and in patients with diabetes mellitus, inhibition of PDK4 expression may be a strategy for the prevention of diabetic vascular calcification. In this study, we used a rat VSMC model to investigate the role of PDK4 in diabetic vascular calcification and further explore the underlying mechanisms. We observed that N?-carboxymethyl-lysine (CML), which is a major immunogen of AGEs, accelerated calcium deposition in VSMCs through PDK4 activation. An elevated level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) acted as a signal transduction intermediate to increase PDK4 expression. Either inhibition of PDK4 expression or RAGE (receptor for AGEs) blockade attenuated CML-induced VSMC calcification, as shown by decreased alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) expression. Glucose consumption and lactate production were increased during CML-induced VSMC calcification. Importantly, CML accelerates glycolysis in VSMCs via a PDK4-dependent pathway. In conclusion, this study demonstrates a novel mechanism by which CML promotes VSMC calcification via PDK4 activation and alters glucose metabolism in VSMCs.
Project description:Vascular calcification (VC) is the process of deposition of calcium phosphate crystals in the blood vessel wall, with a central role for vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). VC is highly prevalent in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients and thought, in part, to be induced by phosphate imbalance. The molecular mechanisms that regulate VC are not fully known. Here we propose a novel role for the mineralisation regulator Ucma/GRP (Upper zone of growth plate and Cartilage Matrix Associated protein/Gla Rich Protein) in phosphate-induced VSMC calcification. We show that Ucma/GRP is present in calcified atherosclerotic plaques and highly expressed in calcifying VSMCs in vitro. VSMCs from Ucma/GRP-/- mice showed increased mineralisation and expression of osteo/chondrogenic markers (BMP-2, Runx2, ?-catenin, p-SMAD1/5/8, ALP, OCN), and decreased expression of mineralisation inhibitor MGP, suggesting that Ucma/GRP is an inhibitor of mineralisation. Using BMP signalling inhibitor noggin and SMAD1/5/8 signalling inhibitor dorsomorphin we showed that Ucma/GRP is involved in inhibiting the BMP-2-SMAD1/5/8 osteo/chondrogenic signalling pathway in VSMCs treated with elevated phosphate concentrations. Additionally, we showed for the first time evidence of a direct interaction between Ucma/GRP and BMP-2. These results demonstrate an important role of Ucma/GRP in regulating osteo/chondrogenic differentiation and phosphate-induced mineralisation of VSMCs.
Project description:Advanced glycation end products/receptor for AGEs (AGEs/RAGEs) or Toll like receptor 4 (TLR4) induce vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotype changes in osteoblast-like cells and vascular calcification. We analyzed the effect of Ecklonia cava extract (ECE) or pyrogallol-phloroglucinol-6,6-bieckol (PPB) on VSMC phenotype changes and vascular calcification prompted by a high-fat diet (HFD). HFD unregulated RAGE, TLR4, transforming growth factor beta (TGF?), bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), protein kinase C (PKC), and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-?B) signals in the aorta of mice. ECE and PPB restored the increase of those signal pathways. AGE- or palmitate-treated VSMC indicated similar changes with the animal. HFD increased osteoblast-like VSMC, which was evaluated by measuring core-binding factor alpha-1 (CBF?-1) and osteocalcin expression and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity in the aorta. ECE and PPB reduced vascular calcification, which was analyzed by the calcium deposition ratio, and Alizarin red S stain was increased by HFD. PPB and ECE reduced systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure, which increased by HFD. PPB and ECE reduced the phenotype changes of VSMC to osteoblast-like cells and vascular calcification and therefore lowered the blood pressure.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) is a key cytokine during differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) into vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). High phosphate induces a phenotypic transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) into osteogenic-like cells. This study was aimed to evaluate signaling pathways involved during VSMC differentiation of MSC in presence or not of high phosphate. RESULTS: Our results showed that TGF-? induced nuclear translocation of Smad3 as well as the expression of vascular smooth muscle markers, such as smooth muscle alpha actin, SM22?, myocardin, and smooth muscle-myosin heavy chain. The addition of high phosphate to MSC promoted nuclear translocation of Smad1/5/8 and the activation of canonical Wnt/?-catenin in addition to an increase in BMP-2 expression, calcium deposition and alkaline phosphatase activity. The administration of TGF-? to MSC treated with high phosphate abolished all these effects by inhibiting canonical Wnt, BMP and TGF-? pathways. A similar outcome was observed in high phosphate-treated cells after the inhibition of canonical Wnt signaling with Dkk-1. Conversely, addition of both Wnt/?-catenin activators CHIR98014 and lithium chloride enhanced the effect of high phosphate on BMP-2, calcium deposition and alkaline phosphatase activity. CONCLUSIONS: Full VSMC differentiation induced by TGF-? may not be achieved when extracellular phosphate levels are high. Moreover, TGF-? prevents high phosphate-induced osteogenesis by decreasing the nuclear translocation of Smad 1/5/8 and avoiding the activation of Wnt/?-catenin pathway.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Vascular calcification is an organized process in which vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are implicated primarily. The purpose of the present study was to assess the effects of calcium antagonists and statins on VSMC calcification in vitro. METHODS: VSMC calcification was stimulated by incubation in growth medium supplemented with 10 mmol/l beta-glycerophosphate, 8 mmol/l CaCl(2), 10 mmol/l sodium pyruvate, 1 micromol/l insulin, 50 microg/ml ascorbic acid, and 100 nmol/l dexamethasone (calcification medium). Calcification, proliferation, and apoptosis of VSMCs were quantified. RESULTS: Calcium deposition was stimulated dose-dependently by beta-glycerophosphate, CaCl(2), and ascorbic acid (all P < 0.01). Addition of amlodipine (0.01-1 micromol/l) to the calcification medium did not affect VSMC calcification. However, atorvastatin (2-50 micromol/l) stimulated calcium deposition dose-dependently. Combining treatments stimulated calcification to a degree similar to that observed with atorvastatin alone. Both atorvastatin and amlodipine inhibited VSMC proliferation at the highest concentration used. Only atorvastatin (50 micromol/l) induced considerable apoptosis of VSMCs. CONCLUSION: In vitro calcification of VSMCs is not affected by amlodipine, but is stimulated by atorvastatin at concentrations > or =10 micromol/l, which could contribute to the plaque-stabilizing effect reported for statins.
Project description:Background:Gukang capsule (GKC) is a traditional Chinese medicine formulation which has been used extensively in the clinical treatment of bone fractures. However, the mechanisms underlying its effects on fracture healing remain unclear. Methods:In this study we used a rabbit radius fracture model, and we measured the serum content of bone alkaline phosphatase (ALP), calcium, and phosphorus and examined pathology of the fracture site as indicators of the fracture healing effects of GKC. SaOS-2 human osteosarcoma cells were used to measure (i) ALP activity, (ii) ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC), calcium, and mineralization levels, (iii) the expression of osteogenic-related genes, that is, runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2), bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), collagen I (COL-I), osteopontin (OPN), OTC, and osterix (Osx), and (iv) the expression of key proteins in the Wnt/?-catenin and BMP/SMAD signaling pathways to study the mechanisms by which GKC promotes fracture healing. Results:We found that GKC effectively promotes radius fracture healing in rabbits and enhances ALP activity, increases OTC and calcium levels, and stimulates the formation of mineralized nodules in SaOS-2?cells. Moreover, COL-I, OTC, Osx, BMP2, and OPN expression levels were higher in SaOS-2?cells treated with GKC than control cells. GKC upregulates glycogen synthase kinase 3? (GSK3?) phosphorylation and Smad1/5 and ?-catenin protein levels, thereby activating Wnt/?-catenin and BMP/Smad signaling pathways. Inhibitors of the Wnt/?-catenin and BMP/Smad signaling pathways (DKK1 and Noggin, respectively) suppress the osteogenic effects of GKC. Conclusions:GKC promotes fracture healing by activating the Wnt/?-catenin and BMP/Smad signaling pathways and increasing osteoprotegerin (OPG) secretion by osteoblasts (OBs), which prevents receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL) binding to RANK.
Project description:Vascular calcification is the deposition of hydroxyapatite crystals in the blood vessel wall. Osteogenic differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) plays a key role in this process. Increased expression of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) occurs in some in vitro models of VSMC calcification and is thought to be crucial for mineralization, however, little is known about the transcriptional regulation of ALP in VSMCs. Recently, ALP upregulation was shown to coincide with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated vascular calcification, specifically with expression of the transcription factor ATF4. As no direct links between ALP expression and ER stress have previously been demonstrated in VSMCs, the aim of this study was to investigate whether ATF4 interacts directly with the ALP promoter.The present study shows that ALP mRNA and activity were significantly increased by ER stress treatment of human primary VSMCs in vitro and that this was ATF4-dependent. Bioinformatics analysis predicted two ATF4 binding sites in ER-stress responsive regions of the ALP promoter (-?3631 to -?2048 bp from the first intron). However, we found that ATF4 does not bind within this fragment of the ALP promoter region.
Project description:Arterial media calcification is associated with diabetes mellitus. Previous studies have shown that advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are responsible for vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) calcification, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF-1?), one of the major factors during hypoxia, and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4), an important mitochondrial matrix enzyme in cellular metabolism shift, have been reported in VSMC calcification. The potential link among HIF-1?, PDK4, and AGEs-induced vascular calcification was investigated in this study. We observed that AGEs elevated HIF-1? and PDK4 expression levels in a dose-dependent manner and that maximal stimulation was attained at 24?h. Two important HIF-1?-regulated genes, vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) and glucose transporter 1 (GLUT-1), were significantly increased after AGEs exposure. Stabilization or nuclear translocation of HIF-1? increased PDK4 expression. PDK4 inhibition attenuated AGEs-induced VSMC calcification, which was evaluated by measuring the calcium content, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) expression levels and by Alizarin red S staining. In addition, the glucose consumption, lactate production, key enzymes of glucose metabolism and oxygen consumption rate (OCR) were decreased during AGEs-induced VSMC calcification. In conclusion, this study suggests that AGEs accelerate vascular calcification partly through the HIF-1?/PDK4 pathway and suppress glucose metabolism.
Project description:<h4>Objectives</h4>Vascular calcification is a frequent complication in chronic haemodialysis patients and is associated with adverse outcomes. Serum calcium and phosphate levels and imbalances in calcification regulators are thought to contribute to the process. In this regard, the dialysate calcium concentration is a modifiable tool for modulating the risk of vascular calcification. We explored pre- and post-dialysis phosphate and calcium concentrations in stable chronic haemodialysis patients treated by dialysis with the KDIGO-suggested 1.5 mmol/L calcium dialysate to investigate the effects on ex vivo calcification of rat aortic rings.<h4>Approach and results</h4>At the end of haemodialysis, mean serum calcium levels were increased in 88% of paired pre-/post-dialysis samples, while mean serum phosphate and parathyroid hormone levels were decreased. Rat aortic ring cultures grown at the same calcium and phosphate concentrations revealed that pre- and post-dialysis resulted in a similar degree of calcification. By contrast, haemodialysis with unchanged serum calcium resulted in a 5-fold reduction in calcium deposition.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Dialysis with the widely prescribed 1.5 mmol/L calcium dose results in persistent high serum calcification potential in a sizable proportion of patients, driven by increased post-dialysis calcium concentration. This could potentially be mitigated by individualising dialysate calcium dosage based on pre-dialysis serum calcium levels.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an inherited vascular disorder that causes arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Mutations in the genes encoding Endoglin ( ENG) and activin-receptor-like kinase 1 ( AVCRL1 encoding ALK1) cause HHT type 1 and 2, respectively. Mutations in the SMAD4 gene are present in families with juvenile polyposis-HHT syndrome that involves AVMs. SMAD4 is a downstream effector of transforming growth factor-? (TGF?)/bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family ligands that signal via activin-like kinase receptors (ALKs). Ligand-neutralizing antibodies or inducible, endothelial-specific Alk1 deletion induce AVMs in mouse models as a result of increased PI3K (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase)/AKT (protein kinase B) signaling. Here we addressed if SMAD4 was required for BMP9-ALK1 effects on PI3K/AKT pathway activation. METHODS:The authors generated tamoxifen-inducible, postnatal, endothelial-specific Smad4 mutant mice ( Smad4i?EC). RESULTS:We found that loss of endothelial Smad4 resulted in AVM formation and lethality. AVMs formed in regions with high blood flow in developing retinas and other tissues. Mechanistically, BMP9 signaling antagonized flow-induced AKT activation in an ALK1- and SMAD4-dependent manner. Smad4i?EC endothelial cells in AVMs displayed increased PI3K/AKT signaling, and pharmacological PI3K inhibitors or endothelial Akt1 deletion both rescued AVM formation in Smad4i?EC mice. BMP9-induced SMAD4 inhibited casein kinase 2 ( CK2) transcription, in turn limiting PTEN phosphorylation and AKT activation. Consequently, CK2 inhibition prevented AVM formation in Smad4i?EC mice. CONCLUSIONS:Our study reveals SMAD4 as an essential effector of BMP9-10/ALK1 signaling that affects AVM pathogenesis via regulation of CK2 expression and PI3K/AKT1 activation.