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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 Mar;32(3):613-22. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.111.242594. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

Inhibition of bone morphogenetic protein signaling reduces vascular calcification and atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. mderwall@ukaachen.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The expression of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) is enhanced in human atherosclerotic and calcific vascular lesions. Although genetic gain- and loss-of-function experiments in mice have supported a causal role of BMP signaling in atherosclerosis and vascular calcification, it remains uncertain whether BMP signaling might be targeted pharmacologically to ameliorate both of these processes.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We tested the impact of pharmacological BMP inhibition on atherosclerosis and calcification in LDL receptor-deficient (LDLR-/-) mice. LDLR-/- mice fed a high-fat diet developed abundant vascular calcification within 20 weeks. Prolonged treatment of LDLR-/- mice with the small molecule BMP inhibitor LDN-193189 was well-tolerated and potently inhibited development of atheroma, as well as associated vascular inflammation, osteogenic activity, and calcification. Administration of recombinant BMP antagonist ALK3-Fc replicated the antiatherosclerotic and anti-inflammatory effects of LDN-193189. Treatment of human aortic endothelial cells with LDN-193189 or ALK3-Fc abrogated the production of reactive oxygen species induced by oxidized LDL, a known early event in atherogenesis. Unexpectedly, treatment of mice with LDN-193189 lowered LDL serum cholesterol by 35% and markedly decreased hepatosteatosis without inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase activity. Treatment with BMP2 increased, whereas LDN-193189 or ALK3-Fc inhibited apolipoprotein B100 secretion in HepG2 cells, suggesting that BMP signaling contributes to the regulation of cholesterol biosynthesis.

CONCLUSION:

These results definitively implicate BMP signaling in atherosclerosis and calcification, while uncovering a previously unidentified role for BMP signaling in LDL cholesterol metabolism. BMP inhibition may be helpful in the treatment of atherosclerosis and associated vascular calcification.

PMID:
22223731
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3679546
Free PMC Article

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