An Investigation Into the Role of Osteocalcin in Human Arterial Smooth Muscle Cell Calcification.
ABSTRACT: Osteocalcin (OCN) is a bone-derived protein that is detected within human calcified vascular tissue. Calcification is particularly prevalent in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients but the role of OCN in calcification, whether active or passive, has not been elucidated. Part 1: The relationship between OCN, CKD and vascular calcification was assessed in CKD patients (n = 28) and age-matched controls (n = 19). Part 2: in vitro, we analyzed whether addition of uncarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOCN) influenced the rate or extent of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) calcification. Human aortic VSMCs were cultured in control media or mineralisation inducing media (MM) containing increased phosphate with or without ucOCN (10 or 30 ng/mL) for up to 21 days. Markers of osteogenic differentiation and calcification were determined [alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, total intracellular OCN, Runx2 expression, ?-SMA expression, alizarin red calcium staining, and calcium quantification]. Part 1 results: In our human population, calcification was present (mean age 76 years), but no differences were detected between CKD patients and controls. Plasma total OCN was increased in CKD patients compared to controls (14 vs. 9 ng/mL; p < 0.05) and correlated to estimated glomerular filtration rate (p < 0.05), however no relationship was detected between total OCN and calcification. Part 2 results: in vitro, ALP activity, ?-SMA expression and calcium concentrations were significantly increased in MM treated VSMCs at day 21, but no effect of ucOCN was observed. Cells treated with control media+ucOCN for 21 days did not show increases in ALP activity nor calcification. In summary, although plasma total OCN was increased in CKD patients, this study did not find a relationship between OCN and calcification in CKD and non-CKD patients, and found no in vitro evidence of an active role of ucOCN in vascular calcification as assessed over 21 days. ucOCN appears not to be a mediator of vascular calcification, but further investigation is warranted.
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:Vascular Calcification (VC) is a life threatening cardiovascular complication that accounts for high death rates particularly in association with diabetes, atherosclerosis and Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD. during VC, Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells (VSMCs) undergo reprogramming into osteoblast-like cells in response to calcium and phosphate mineral imbalance in CKD patients. This osteogenic switch is driven by the expression of several bone markers such as Runt- related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), Osteopontin (OPN), Matrix-Gla Protein (MGP), Osteocalcin (OCN), Type I Collagen (COL1), and Bone Sialo Proteins (BSPs). Recent studies showed that VSMCs secrete heterogeneous populations of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs)11 that are enriched under physiological conditions by calcification inhibitors such as Fetuin-A and MGP12,13,14. Interestingly, under pathological conditions, secreted EVs have a pro-calcifying profile and thereby act as nucleating foci for hydroxyapatite crystallization and propagation11,15. Electron Microscopy based studies revealed that EVs were embedded between collagen and elastin fibrils of arterial walls suggesting that calcification can be initiated through the EVs’ direct physical interaction with them13,16. We previously showed that a specific oligogalacturonic acid with a degree of polymerization of 8 (DP8) was able to inhibit vascular calcification. This inhibition was partly due to a decrease of osteogenic markers’s expression but also to the masking of a consensus sequence found in COL1 i.e. GFOGER sequence, thus preventing EVs from binding to COL1. Although the use of DP8 in-vivo seems to be compromised due to probable enzymatic digestion, these results suggested that the inhibition of VSMCs’ osteogenic switch and the prevention of EVs-COL1 interaction could represent new potential therapeutic targets for inhibiting VC17. Since we have already showed that the triple-helical GFOGER consensus sequence forms a preferential binding site for EVs17, we thereby chemically synthesized a GFOGER peptide in order to determine its ability to inhibit VC on VSMCs and on an aortic ring ex-vivo model. We also aim to decipher the mechanisms of inhibition by investigating the osteogenic markers’ expression as well as the protein content of secreted EVs in the presence of the GFOGER peptide.
Project description:Background The high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality of patients with CKD may result in large part from medial vascular calcification, a process promoted by hyperphosphatemia and involving osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Reduced serum zinc levels have frequently been observed in patients with CKD, but the functional relevance of this remains unclear.Methods We performed experiments in primary human aortic VSMCs; klotho-hypomorphic (kl/kl), subtotal nephrectomy, and cholecalciferol-overload mouse calcification models; and serum samples from patients with CKD.Results In cultured VSMCs, treatment with zinc sulfate (ZnSO4) blunted phosphate-induced calcification, osteo-/chondrogenic signaling, and NF-κB activation. ZnSO4 increased the abundance of zinc-finger protein TNF-α-induced protein 3 (TNFAIP3, also known as A20), a suppressor of the NF-κB pathway, by zinc-sensing receptor ZnR/GPR39-dependent upregulation of TNFAIP3 gene expression. Silencing of TNFAIP3 in VSMCs blunted the anticalcific effects of ZnSO4 under high phosphate conditions. kl/kl mice showed reduced plasma zinc levels, and ZnSO4 supplementation strongly blunted vascular calcification and aortic osteoinduction and upregulated aortic Tnfaip3 expression. ZnSO4 ameliorated vascular calcification in mice with chronic renal failure and mice with cholecalciferol overload. In patients with CKD, serum zinc concentrations inversely correlated with serum calcification propensity. Finally, ZnSO4 ameliorated the osteoinductive effects of uremic serum in VSMCs.Conclusions Zinc supplementation ameliorates phosphate-induced osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of VSMCs and vascular calcification through an active cellular mechanism resulting from GPR39-dependent induction of TNFAIP3 and subsequent suppression of the NF-κB pathway. Zinc supplementation may be a simple treatment to reduce the burden of vascular calcification in CKD.
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:Vascular calcification is a major clinical problem and elucidating the underlying mechanism is important to improve the prognosis of patients with cardiovascular disease. We aimed to elucidate the role and mechanism of action of Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF)/c-Met signalling in vascular calcification and establish whether blocking this pathway could prevent mineralisation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in vitro.We demonstrate increased HGF secretion and c-Met up-regulation and phosphorylation during VSMC osteogenic differentiation. Adenoviral-mediated over-expression of HGF (AdHGF) in VSMCs accelerated mineralisation, shown by alizarin red staining, and significantly increased (45)Calcium incorporation (1.96 ± 0.54-fold [P < 0.05]) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity (3.01 ± 0.8-fold [P < 0.05]) compared to controls. AdHGF also significantly elevated mRNA expression of bone-related proteins, Runx2, osteocalcin, BMP2 and osterix in VSMCs. AdHGF-accelerated mineralisation correlated with increased Akt phosphorylation, nuclear translocation of Notch3 intracellular domain (N3IC) and up-regulation of the Notch3 target protein, HES1. In contrast, adenoviral-mediated over-expression of the HGF antagonist, NK4, markedly attenuated VSMC mineralisation, and reduced c-Met phosphorylation, Akt activation and HES1 protein expression compared to AdHGF-treated cells. Furthermore, the Notch inhibitor, DAPT, attenuated N3IC nuclear translocation and AdHGF-induced mineralisation.We demonstrate HGF induces VSMC osteogenic differentiation via c-Met/Akt/Notch3 signalling, highlighting these pathways as potential targets for intervention of vascular calcification.
Project description:Objective: To investigate the treatment and mechanism of lanthanum hydroxide on hyperphosphate-induced vascular calcification in chronic renal failure. Methods: Develop a rat model of CKD hyperphosphatemia. Rats were randomly allocated to the model, lanthanum hydroxide, lanthanum carbonate, Calcium carbonate groups. Determination of serum biochemical indicators and the determination of pathological analysis of kidney tissue, Von Kossa staining and CT scan on the aortic vessels. The proteomic analysis of aortic tissue in Vivo. A calcified VSMCs model was established. The calcium content and ALP activity were measured. RT-PCR measures the mRNA expression level of SM22α, Runx2, BMP-2 and TRAF6. Western Blot measures the protein expression level of SM22α, Runx2, BMP-2, TRAF6 and NF-κB. Results: Through the detection of serum biochemical indicators and pathological analysis of kidney tissue, it can be summaryed that lanthanum hydroxide has the effect of delaying the progression of renal failure and protecting renal function. We found that the administration of lanthanum hydroxide delayed the development of vascular calcification induced by hyperphosphatemia in CKD. It can be concluded that lanthanum hydroxide may affect vascular calcification through the NF-κB pathway. , To deal with Lanthanum chloride (LaCl3) inhibited phosphate induced calcification, osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation, and NF-κB signaling in cultured VSMCs. Lanthanum hydroxide significantly reduces the expression of Runx2, BMP-2, TRAF6 and NF-κB. Conclusion: Lanthanum hydroxide has a protective effect on the kidneys, and can delay the development of vascular calcification by reducing serum phosphorus concentration.
Project description:Vascular calcification is a life-threatening clinical condition in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is associated with reduced zinc serum levels. Anemia is another frequent complication of CKD. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) stabilizers, also known as HIF prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors (PHI), are promising candidates to treat CKD-associated anemia by increasing erythropoietin synthesis. Recent evidence suggests that HIFs play a pivotal role in vascular calcification. Our study explored feasible impacts of HIF PHI on phosphate (Pi)-induced calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and tested whether zinc might inhibit this mineralization process. Treatment of VSMCs with PHI aggravated Pi-induced calcium deposition and Pi uptake. PHI promoted Pi-induced loss of smooth muscle cell markers (ACTA-2, MYH11, SM22?) and enhanced osteochondrogenic gene expression (Msx-2, BMP-2, Sp7) triggering osteochondrogenic phenotypic switch of VSMCs. These effects of PHI paralleled with increased pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) expression, decreased Runx2 Ser451 phosphorylation, and reduced cell viability. Zinc inhibited Pi-induced mineralization of VSMCs in a dose-dependent manner and also attenuated the pro-calcification effect of PHI in Pi-induced mineralization. Zinc inhibited osteochondrogenic phenotypic switch of VSMCs reflected by lowering Pi uptake, decreasing the expressions of Msx-2, BMP-2, and Sp7 as well as the loss of smooth muscle cell-specific markers. Zinc preserved phosphorylation state of Runx2 Ser451, decreased PDK4 level, and restored cell viability. PHI alone reduced the expression of smooth muscle markers without inducing mineralization, which was also inhibited by zinc. In addition, we observed a significantly lower serum zinc level in CKD as well as in patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy compared to healthy individuals. Conclusion - PHI promoted the loss of smooth muscle markers and augmented Pi-induced osteochondrogenic phenotypic switch leading to VSMCs calcification. This mineralization process was attenuated by zinc. Enhanced vascular calcification is a potential risk factor during PHI therapy in CKD which necessitates the strict follow up of vascular calcification and zinc supplementation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Phosphate (Pi) toxicity is a strong determinant of vascular calcification development in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Magnesium (Mg2+) may improve cardiovascular risk via vascular calcification. The mechanism by which Mg2+ counteracts vascular calcification remains incompletely described. Here we investigated the effects of Mg2+ on Pi and secondary crystalline calciprotein particles (CPP2)-induced calcification and crystal maturation. METHODS:Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) were treated with high Pi or CPP2 and supplemented with Mg2+ to study cellular calcification. The effect of Mg2+ on CPP maturation, morphology and composition was studied by medium absorbance, electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy. To translate our findings to CKD patients, the effects of Mg2+ on calcification propensity (T50) were measured in sera from CKD patients and healthy controls. RESULTS:Mg2+ supplementation prevented Pi-induced calcification in VSMCs. Mg2+ dose-dependently delayed the maturation of primary CPP1 to CPP2 in vitro. Mg2+ did not prevent calcification and associated gene and protein expression when added to already formed CPP2. Confirmatory experiments in human serum demonstrated that the addition of 0.2?mmol/L Mg2+ increased T50 from healthy controls by 51?±?15?min (P?<?0.05) and CKD patients by 44?±?13?min (P?<?0.05). Each further 0.2?mmol/L addition of Mg2+ led to further increases in both groups. CONCLUSIONS:Our results demonstrate that crystalline CPP2 mediates Pi-induced calcification in VSMCs. In vitro, Mg2+ delays crystalline CPP2 formation and thereby prevents Pi-induced calcification.
Project description:Medial vascular calcification, associated with enhanced mortality in chronic kidney disease (CKD), is fostered by osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Here, we describe that serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1) was upregulated in VSMCs under calcifying conditions. In primary human aortic VSMCs, overexpression of constitutively active SGK1S422D, but not inactive SGK1K127N, upregulated osteo-/chondrogenic marker expression and activity, effects pointing to increased osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation. SGK1S422D induced nuclear translocation and increased transcriptional activity of NF-?B. Silencing or pharmacological inhibition of IKK abrogated the osteoinductive effects of SGK1S422D. Genetic deficiency, silencing, and pharmacological inhibition of SGK1 dissipated phosphate-induced calcification and osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation of VSMCs. Aortic calcification, stiffness, and osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation in mice following cholecalciferol overload were strongly reduced by genetic knockout or pharmacological inhibition of Sgk1 by EMD638683. Similarly, Sgk1 deficiency blunted vascular calcification in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice after subtotal nephrectomy. Treatment of human aortic smooth muscle cells with serum from uremic patients induced osteo-/chondrogenic transdifferentiation, effects ameliorated by EMD638683. These observations identified SGK1 as a key regulator of vascular calcification. SGK1 promoted vascular calcification, at least partly, via NF-?B activation. Inhibition of SGK1 may, thus, reduce the burden of vascular calcification in CKD.
Project description:Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic disease in which the body either does not use or produce the glucose metabolising hormone insulin efficiently. Calcification of elastin in the arteries of diabetics is a major predictor of cardiovascular diseases. It has been previously shown that elastin degradation products work synergistically with transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-?1) to induce osteogenesis in vascular smooth muscle cells. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that high concentration of glucose coupled with elastin degradation products and TGF-?1 (a cytokine commonly associated with diabetes) will cause a greater degree of osteogenesis compared to normal vascular cells. Thus, the goal of this study was to analyse the effects of high concentration of glucose, elastin peptides and TGF-?1 on bone-specific markers like alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin (OCN) and runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2). We demonstrated using relative gene expression and specific protein assays that elastin degradation products in the presence of high glucose cause the increase in expression of the specific elastin-laminin receptor-1 (ELR-1) and activin receptor-like kinase-5 (ALK-5) present on the surface of the vascular cells, in turn leading to overexpression of typical osteogenic markers like ALP, OCN and RUNX2. Conversely, blocking of ELR-1 and ALK-5 strongly suppressed the expression of the osteogenic proteins. In conclusion, our results indicate that glucose plays an important role in amplifying the osteogenesis induced by elastin peptides and TGF-?1, possibly by activating the ELR-1 and ALK-5 signalling pathways.