In vascular smooth muscle cells paricalcitol prevents phosphate-induced Wnt/β-catenin activation
Martínez-Moreno, Julio M.
Muñoz-Castañeda, Juan R.
Montes de Oca, Addy
Estepa Nieto, José Carlos
Rodríguez-Ortiz, Maria E.
Aguilera Tejero, Escolástico
Almadén Peña, Yolanda
Editor/esAmerican Journal of Physiology
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The present study investigates the differential effect of two vitamin D receptor agonists, calcitriol and paricalcitol, on human aortic smooth muscle cells calcification in vitro. Human vascular smooth muscle cells were incubated in a high phosphate (HP) medium alone or supplemented with either calcitriol 10−8M (HP + CTR) or paricalcitol 3·10−8 M (HP + PC). HP medium induced calcification, which was associated with the upregulation of mRNA expression of osteogenic factors such as bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), Runx2/Cbfa1, Msx2, and osteocalcin. In these cells, activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling was evidenced by the translocation of β-catenin into the nucleus and the increase in the expression of direct target genes as cyclin D1, axin 2, and VCAN/versican. Addition of calcitriol to HP medium (HP + CTR) further increased calcification and also enhanced the expression of osteogenic factors together with a significant elevation of nuclear β-catenin levels and the expression of cyclin D1, axin 2, and VCAN. By contrast, the addition of paricalcitol (HP + PC) not only reduced calcification but also downregulated the expression of BMP2 and other osteoblastic phenotype markers as well as the levels of nuclear β-catenin and the expression of its target genes. The role of Wnt/β-catenin on phosphate- and calcitriol-induced calcification was further demonstrated by the inhibition of calcification after addition of Dickkopf-related protein 1 (DKK-1), a specific natural antagonist of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. In conclusion, the differential effect of calcitriol and paricalcitol on vascular calcification appears to be mediated by a distinct regulation of the BMP and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways.