Vascular calcification: pathobiology of a multifaceted disease.

Division of Cardiology, University of California at Los Angeles, School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1679, USA.
Circulation (Impact Factor: 14.95). 06/2008; 117(22):2938-48. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.743161
Source: PubMed
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    Arquivos brasileiros de cardiologia. 12/2014; 103(6 Suppl 3):1-86.
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular calcification is an unfavorable event in the natural history of atherosclerosis that predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, increasing evidence suggests that different calcification patterns are associated with different or even opposite histopathological and clinical features, reflecting the dual relationship between inflammation and calcification. In fact, initial calcium deposition in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli results in the formation of spotty or granular calcification ("microcalcification"), which induces further inflammation. This vicious cycle favors plaque rupture, unless an adaptive response prevails, with blunting of inflammation and survival of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). VSMCs promote fibrosis and also undergo osteogenic transdifferentiation, with formation of homogeneous or sheet-like calcification ("macrocalcification"), that stabilizes the plaque by serving as a barrier towards inflammation. Unfortunately, little is known about the molecular mechanisms regulating this adaptive response. The advanced glycation/lipoxidation endproducts (AGEs/ALEs) have been shown to promote vascular calcification and atherosclerosis. Recent evidence suggests that two AGE/ALE receptors, RAGE and galectin-3, modulate in divergent ways, not only inflammation, but also vascular osteogenesis, by favoring "microcalcification" and "macrocalcification", respectively. Galectin-3 seems essential for VSMC transdifferentiation into osteoblast-like cells via direct modulation of the WNT-β-catenin signaling, thus driving formation of "macrocalcification", whereas RAGE favors deposition of "microcalcification" by promoting and perpetuating inflammation and by counteracting the osteoblastogenic effect of galectin-3. Further studies are required to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating transition from "microcalcification" to "macrocalcification", thus allowing to design therapeutic strategies which favor this adaptive process, in order to limit the adverse effects of established atherosclerotic calcification. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Atherosclerosis 12/2014; 238(2):220-230. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular and valvular calcifications are pathological processes regulated by resident cells, and depending on a complex, they interplay between calcification promoters and inhibitors, resembling skeletal metabolism. Here, we study the role of the vitamin K-dependent Gla-rich protein (GRP) in vascular and valvular calcification processes. Immunohistochemistry and quantitative polymerase chain reaction showed that GRP expression and accumulation are upregulated with calcification simultaneously with osteocalcin and matrix Gla protein (MGP). Using conformation-specific antibodies, both γ-carboxylated GRP and undercarboxylated GRP species were found accumulated at the sites of mineral deposits, whereas undercarboxylated GRP was predominant in calcified aortic valve disease valvular interstitial cells. Mineral-bound GRP, MGP, and fetuin-A were identified by mass spectrometry. Using an ex vivo model of vascular calcification, γ-carboxylated GRP but not undercarboxylated GRP was shown to inhibit calcification and osteochondrogenic differentiation through α-smooth muscle actin upregulation and osteopontin downregulation. Immunoprecipitation assays showed that GRP is part of an MGP-fetuin-A complex at the sites of valvular calcification. Moreover, extracellular vesicles released from normal vascular smooth muscle cells are loaded with GRP, MGP, and fetuin-A, whereas under calcifying conditions, released extracellular vesicles show increased calcium loading and GRP and MGP depletion. GRP is an inhibitor of vascular and valvular calcification involved in calcium homeostasis. Its function might be associated with prevention of calcium-induced signaling pathways and direct mineral binding to inhibit crystal formation/maturation. Our data show that GRP is a new player in mineralization competence of extracellular vesicles possibly associated with the fetuin-A-MGP calcification inhibitory system. GRP activity was found to be dependent on its γ-carboxylation status, with potential clinical relevance. © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 12/2014; · 5.53 Impact Factor