[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is an inherited disorder characterized by calcification of elastic fibres leading to dermatological and vascular alterations associated to premature aged features and to life threatening clinical manifestations. The severity of the disease is independent from the type of mutation in the ABCC6 gene, and it has been suggested that local and/or systemic factors may contribute to the occurrence of clinical phenotype. The redox balance in the circulation of 27 PXE patients and of 50 healthy subjects of comparable age was evaluated by measuring the advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), the lipid peroxidation derivatives (LOOH), the circulating total antioxidant status (TAS), the thiol content and the extracellular superoxide dismutase activity (EC-SOD). Patients were diagnosed by clinical, ultrastructural and molecular findings. Compared to control subjects, PXE patients exhibited significantly lower antioxidant potential, namely circulating TAS and free thiol groups, and higher levels of parameters of oxidative damage, as LOOH and of AOPP, and of circulating EC-SOD activity. Interestingly, the ratio between oxidant and antioxidant parameters was significantly altered in PXE patients and related to various score indices. This study demonstrates, for the first time, that several parameters of oxidative stress are modified in the blood of PXE patients and that the redox balance is significantly altered compared to control subjects of comparable age. Therefore, in PXE patients the circulating impaired redox balance may contribute to the occurrence of several clinical manifestations in PXE patients, and/or to the severity of disease, thus opening new perspectives for their management.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elastin, the main component of elastic fibers, is synthesized only in early life and provides the blood vessels with their elastic properties. With aging, elastin is progressively degraded, leading to arterial enlargement, stiffening, and dysfunction. Also, elastin is a key regulator of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration during development since heterozygous mutations in its gene (Eln) are responsible for a severe obstructive vascular disease, supravalvular aortic stenosis, isolated or associated to Williams syndrome. Here, we have studied whether early elastin synthesis could also influence the aging processes, by comparing the structure and function of ascending aorta from 6- and 24-month-old Eln+/- and Eln+/+ mice. Eln+/- animals have high blood pressure and arteries with smaller diameters and more rigid walls containing additional although thinner elastic lamellas. Nevertheless, longevity of these animals is unaffected. In young adult Eln+/- mice, some features resemble vascular aging of wild-type animals: cardiac hypertrophy, loss of elasticity of the arterial wall through enhanced fragmentation of the elastic fibers, and extracellular matrix accumulation in the aortic wall, in particular in the intima. In Eln+/- animals, we also observed an age-dependent alteration of endothelial vasorelaxant function. On the contrary, Eln+/- mice were protected from several classical consequences of aging visible in aged Eln+/+ mice, such as arterial wall thickening and alteration of alpha(1)-adrenoceptor-mediated vasoconstriction. Our results suggest that early elastin expression and organization modify arterial aging through their impact on both vascular cell physiology and structure and mechanics of blood vessels.
Rejuvenation Research 03/2008; 11(1):97-112. DOI:10.1089/rej.2007.0587 · 3.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mature MGP (Matrix gamma-carboxyglutamic acid protein) is known to inhibit soft connective tissues calcification. We investigated its possible involvement in pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a genetic disorder whose clinical manifestations are due to mineralization of elastic fibers. PXE patients have lower serum concentration of total MGP compared to controls (P<0.001). Antibodies specific for the noncarboxylated (Glu-MGP) and for the gamma-carboxylated (Gla-MGP) forms of MGP were assayed on ultrathin sections of dermis from controls and PXE patients. Normal elastic fibers in controls and patients were slightly positive for both forms of MGP, whereas Gla-MGP was more abundant within control's than within patient's elastic fibers (P<0.001). In patients' calcified elastic fibers, Glu-MGP intensively colocalized with mineral precipitates, whereas Gla-MGP precisely localized at the mineralization front. Data suggest that MGP is present within elastic fibers and is associated with calcification of dermal elastic fibers in PXE. To investigate whether local cells produce MGP, dermal fibroblasts were cultured in vitro and MGP was assayed at mRNA and protein levels. In spite of very similar MGP mRNA expression, cells from PXE patients produced 30% less of Gla-MGP compared to controls. Data were confirmed by immunocytochemistry on ultrathin sections. Normal fibroblasts in vitro were positive for both forms of MGP. PXE fibroblasts were positive for Glu-MGP and only barely positive for Gla-MGP (P<0.001). In conclusion, MGP is involved in elastic fiber calcification in PXE. The lower ratio of Gla-MGP over Glu-MGP in pathological fibroblasts compared to controls suggests these cells may play an important role in the ectopic calcification in PXE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Data on six patients with a Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum (PXE)-like phenotype, characterized by excessive skin folding (resembling cutis laxa) and a deficiency of the vitamin K-dependent clotting factors (II, VII, IX, and X) are presented. A comparison is made between the clinical, ultrastructural, and molecular findings in these patients and those seen in classic PXE and cutis laxa, respectively. Clinical overlap with PXE is obvious from the skin manifestations of yellowish papules or leathery plaques with dot-like depressions at presentation, angioid streaks and/or ocular peau d'orange, and fragmentation and calcification of elastic fibers in the dermis. Important phenotypic differences with PXE include much more severe skin laxity with spreading toward the trunk and limbs with thick, leathery skin folds rather than confinement to flexural areas, and no decrease in visual acuity. Moreover, detailed electron microscopic analyses revealed that alterations of elastic fibers as well as their mineralization were slightly different from those in classic PXE. Molecular analysis revealed neither causal mutations in the ABCC6 gene (ATP-binding cassette subfamily C member 6), which is responsible for PXE, nor in VKORC1 (vitamin K 2,3 epoxide reductase), known to be involved in vitamin K-dependent factor deficiency. However, the GGCX gene (gamma-glutamyl carboxylase), encoding an enzyme important for gamma-carboxylation of gla-proteins, harbored mutations in six out of seven patients analyzed. These findings all support the hypothesis that the disorder indeed represents a separate clinical and genetic entity, the molecular background of which remains to be unraveled.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a genetic disease characterized by calcification and fragmentation of elastic fibres of the skin, cardiovascular system and eye, caused by mutations of the ABCC6 gene, which encodes the membrane transporter MRP6. The pathogenesis of the lesions is unknown. Based on studies of similar clinical and histopathological damage present in haemolytic disorders, our working hypothesis is that PXE lesions may result from chronic oxidative stress occurring in PXE cells as a consequence of MRP6 deficiency. Our results show that PXE fibroblasts suffer from mild chronic oxidative stress due to the imbalance between production and degradation of oxidant species. The findings also show that this imbalance results, at least in part, from the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)) with overproduction of H2O2. Whether mitochondrial dysfunction is the main factor responsible for the oxidative stress in PXE cells remains to be elucidated. However, mild chronic generalized oxidative stress could explain the great majority of structural and biochemical alterations already reported in PXE.
The Journal of Pathology 01/2006; 208(1):54-61. DOI:10.1002/path.1867 · 7.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A method is described that could be of potential use for the rapid ultrastructural identification of abnormal and fragmented elastic fibers in very small wet samples of dermal biopsies from patients affected by Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). Moreover, the method, which consists of the use of sealed capsules transparent to electrons, allows the rapid and accurate localization and detection of mineralized areas in PXE patients and of their ion composition by X-ray microanalysis. This methodology could be of great help in any tissue disorder, especially in connective tissue disorders, characterized by structural alterations associated with ion precipitation.
Microscopy Research and Technique 08/2005; 67(6):296-9. DOI:10.1002/jemt.20212 · 1.17 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polypeptide sequences encoded by some exons of the human tropoelastin gene (EDP, elastin-derived peptide) have been analysed for their ability to coacervate and to self-assembly. The great majority of them were shown to form organized structures, but only a few were indeed able to coacervate. Negative staining and rotary shadowing transmission electron microscopy showed the polypeptides to adopt a variety of supramolecular organization, from filaments, as those typical of tropoelastin, to amyloid-like fibers. The results obtained gave significant insight to the possible roles played by specific polypeptide sequences of tropoelastin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of reports point to the presence of proteoglycans and/or glycosaminoglycans within elastic fibers in normal and in pathological conditions. We present data that heparan sulphate (HS)-containing proteoglycans are associated with normal elastic fibers in human dermis and that isolated HS chains interact in vitro with recombinant tropoelastin and with peptides encoded by distinct exons of the human tropoelastin gene (EDPs). By immunocytochemistry, HS chains were identified as associated with the amorphous elastin component in the human dermis and remained associated with the residual elastin in the partially degenerated fibers of old subjects. HS appeared particularly concentrated in the mineralization front of elastic fibers in the dermis of patients affected by pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). In in vitro experiments, HS induced substantial changes in the coacervation temperature and in the aggregation properties of recombinant tropoelastin and of synthetic peptides (EDPs) corresponding to sequences encoded by exons 18, 20, 24 and 30 of the human tropoelastin gene. In particular, HS modified the coacervation temperature and favoured the aggregation into ordered structures of tropoelastin molecules and of EDPs 18, 20 and 24, but not of EDP30. These data strongly indicate that HS-elastin interactions may play a role in tissue elastin fibrogenesis as well as modulating elastin stability with time and in diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a genetic disorder, characterized by cutaneous, ocular and cardiovascular clinical symptoms, caused by mutations in a gene (ABCC6) that encodes for MRP6 (Multidrug Resistance associated Protein 6), an ATP-binding cassette membrane transporter. The ABCC6 gene was sequenced in 38 unrelated PXE Italian families. The mutation detection rate was 82.9%. Mutant alleles occurred in homozygous, compound heterozygous and heterozygous forms, however the great majority of patients were compound heterozygotes. Twenty-three different mutations were identified, among which 11 were new. Fourteen were missense (61%); five were nonsense (22%); two were frameshift (8.5%) and two were putative splice site mutations (8.5%). The great majority of mutations were located from exon 24 to 30, exon 24 being the most affected. Among the others, exons 9 and 12 were particularly involved. Almost all mutations were located in the intracellular site of MRP6. A positive correlation was observed between patient's age and severity of the disorder, especially for eye alterations. The relevant heterogeneity in clinical manifestations between patients with identical ABCC6 mutations, even within the same family, seems to indicate that, apart from PXE causative mutations, other genes and/or metabolic pathways might influence the clinical expression of the disorder.
Human Mutation 11/2004; 24(5):438-9. DOI:10.1002/humu.9284 · 5.05 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a rare heritable disorder caused by mutations of the ABCC6 gene, is characterized by fragmentation and mineralization of elastic fibres. We determined the extent of degradation of elastin by measuring and comparing the amount of desmosines in plasma and urine of PXE patients, healthy carriers and normal subjects.
Using capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIF) we measured the amount of desmosines in the urine of 46 individuals (14 PXE patients, 17 healthy carriers and 15 controls) and in the plasma of 56 subjects (18 PXE patients, 23 healthy carriers and 15 controls). Pseudoxanthoma elasticum patients and carriers were identified by clinical, structural and molecular biology analyses.
The urinary excretion of desmosines was two-fold higher in PXE patients than in controls (P < 0.01); the values for healthy carriers were intermediate between those of PXE patients and controls. A very similar trend between patients and their relatives was observed for plasma desmosines. There was a significant correlation between the amount of the desmosines in plasma and urine. Moreover, a positive correlation was observed between urinary desmosine content and age of the patients as well as between urinary desmosine content and severity of clinical manifestations.
Both the urinary and plasma desmosine concentrations indicate that elastin degradation is higher in PXE patients and, to a lesser extent, in healthy carriers than in normal subjects. Data seem to indicate that the amount of elastin breakdown products correlates with the age of patients as well as with the severity of the disease.
European Journal of Clinical Investigation 03/2004; 34(2):156-64. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2362.2004.01306.x · 2.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multidrug resistance protein-6 (MRP6) is a membrane transporter whose deficiency leads to the connective tissue disorder Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). In vitro dermal fibroblasts from normal and PXE subjects, homozygous for the R1141X mutation, were compared for their ability to accumulate and to release fluorescent calcein, in the absence and in the presence of inhibitors and competitors of the MDR-multidrug resistance protein (MRP) systems, such as 3-(3-(2-(7-choro-2 quinolinyl) ethenyl)phenyl ((3-dimethyl amino-3-oxo-propyl)thio) methyl) propanoic acid (MK571), verapamil (VPL), vinblastine (VBL), chlorambucil (CHB), benzbromarone (BNZ) and indomethacin (IDM). In the absence of chemicals, calcein accumulation was significantly higher and the release significantly slower in PXE cells compared to controls. VBL and CHB reduced calcein release in both cell strains, without affecting the differences between PXE and control fibroblasts. VPL, BNZ and IDM consistently delayed calcein release from both control and PXE cells; moreover, they abolished the differences between normal and MRP6-deficient fibroblasts observed in the absence of chemicals. These findings suggest that VPL, BNZ and IDM interfere with MRP6-dependent calcein extrusion in in vitro human normal fibroblasts. Interestingly, MK571 almost completely abolished calcein release from PXE cells, whereas it induced a strong but less complete inhibition in control fibroblasts, suggesting that MRP6 is not inhibited by MK571. Data show that MRP6 is active in human fibroblasts, and that its sensitivity to inhibitors and competitors of MDR-MRPs' membrane transporters is different from that of other translocators, namely, MRP1. It could be suggested that MRP1 and MRP6 transport different physiological substances and that MRP6 deficiency cannot be overcome by other membrane transporters, at least in fibroblasts. These data further support the hypothesis that MRP6 deficiency may be relevant for fibroblast metabolism and responsible for the metabolic alterations of these cells at the basis of connective tissue clinical manifestations of PXE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is caused by mutations in the ABCC6 gene, encoding for the membrane transporter MRP6, whose physiological role is still unknown. PXE is characterized by skin, eye, and cardiovascular alterations mainly due to mineralization of elastic fibers. The ultrastructural alterations of a large number of tissues obtained at autopsy from 2 PXE patients were analyzed and compared to clarify the involvement of the various organs in PXE and to identify cell types responsible for clinical manifestations. Ultrastructural alterations typical of PXE were present in all organs examined and consisted mostly of fragmentation and mineralization of a number of elastic fibers, abnormalities of collagen fibril shape and size, and, less frequently, deposition of aggregates of matrix constituents in the extracellular space. The severity of alterations was more pronounced in the organs affected by the clinical manifestations of PXE. Interestingly, veins and arteries were similarly damaged, the adventitia and the perivascular connective tissue being the most affected areas. Therefore, alterations in PXE are systemic and affect all soft connective tissues, even in the absence of specific clinical manifestations. The localization of alterations suggests that fibroblasts and/or smooth muscle cells are very likely involved in the pathogenesis of the disorder. These findings may help in the diagnosis of PXE when clinical manifestations affect internal organs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a hereditary connective tissue disease in which proteoglycans have altered properties. We investigated whether altered proteoglycan metabolism occurs in vivo and may be reflected in the urine of PXE individuals by analyzing the excreted polysaccharides.
We measured sulfated glycosaminoglycans in the urine of 10 PXE-affected patients, 12 healthy carriers, and 20 healthy controls by agarose gel electrophoresis. Chondroitin sulfate and heparan sulfate disaccharides were also quantified by treatment with specific lyases and separation of products by chromatography.
Total polysaccharides were 34% lower in the urine of PXE-affected patients and 17% lower in healthy carriers than in the control group. Chondroitin sulfate was significantly (P <0.01) decreased, and heparan sulfate was significantly increased. The ratio of chondroitin sulfate to heparan sulfate was 2.7 for PXE-affected patients, 2.3 for healthy carriers, and 10.7 for controls. In PXE-affected individuals and carriers, chondroitin sulfate contained more 4-sulfated disaccharide, less 6-sulfated disaccharide, and decreased nonsulfated disaccharide. Heparan sulfate from PXE-affected individuals and healthy carriers produced significantly less N-sulfated disaccharide and more disaccharide sulfated at the C-6 position with no significant abnormality of the nonsulfated disaccharide percentage and sulfates:disaccharide ratio.
The urinary data support the concept that the inherited defect of the ABCC6/MRP6 transporter in PXE alters metabolism of key polysaccharides. Structural analysis of urinary sulfated polyanions may be useful in the diagnosis of PXE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a rare genetic disorder clinically characterized by skin, cardiovascular and eye manifestations, mainly due to calcification and fragmentation of elastic fibres. Although infrequent, complications during pregnancy in women affected by PXE have been reported. The aim of the present study was to compare structural features of placentae at term from 14 control and 15 PXE-affected women, in order to better understand if and how abnormal mineral and/or matrix accumulation might affect placental function in PXE. In all cases, pregnancy, fetus growth and delivery were normal. Both gross and light microscopy examination did not reveal dramatic differences between placentae of PXE patients and controls, with regard to weight, dimensions, infarcts, thrombi, inflammatory lesions or vessels. However, necrotic changes and mineralization appeared statistically more pronounced in PXE. By electron microscopy the most remarkable differences between PXE and control placentae were observed in the localization and morphology of mineral precipitates; a significant higher deposition of mineral precipitates was observed associated with the "matrix"-type fibrinoid and among collagen fibrils, especially on the maternal side. Immunocytochemistry revealed the presence of vitronectin and fibronectin associated with the PXE-specific mineralizations and the absence of mineralization on the small and scarce elastic fibres in either controls or in PXE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Skin biopsies of 18 healthy relatives of patients with pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), belonging to six different recessive families, have been examined by optical and electron microscopy in order to determine morphologic alterations potentially useful for the identification of carriers of this genetic disorder. These morphologic features have been compared with those observed in the same tissue areas of eight PXE patients belonging to the same families, with six normal subjects, and to the carrier status of these apparently unaffected relatives as determined by haplotype analysis using informative markers surrounding the locus of the PXE gene on chromosome 16p. The dermis of all the relatives of PXE patients, established by haplotype analysis to be heterozygote carriers of a mutation in the PXE gene, exhibited several alterations very similar, although less severe, to those typical in PXE patients. Alterations were present in the reticular dermis and consisted of irregular-sized collagen bundles and elastic fibers; elastic fibers fragmented, cribriform, and mineralized; numerous fibroblasts, larger than normal, and subendothelial elastin in small vessels. Strikingly, none of these dermal changes were noted in an unaffected relative in one family who was identified as a noncarrier by haplotype analysis. Although many of these alterations are not specific for PXE, the presence of these morphologic changes in unaffected relatives of PXE patients indicates alterations in skin that could be diagnostic for carriers of a subclinical phenotype of PXE.
Modern Pathology 12/1999; 12(12):1112-23. · 6.36 Impact Factor