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Kidney Int. 2003 Mar;63(3):1003-11.

Uremia induces the osteoblast differentiation factor Cbfa1 in human blood vessels.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine and Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, USA. smoe@iupui.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Bone matrix proteins are expressed in calcified arteries from dialysis patients, suggesting that vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) may transform to osteoblast-like cells. One of the key transcriptional regulators of osteoblast differentiation is Cbfa1. Thus, we hypothesized that this may be a key factor in arterial calcification.

METHODS:

To test this hypothesis, we examined sections of the inferior epigastric artery from uremic patients for the presence of Cbfa1 and type I collagen and osteopontin by in situ hybridization and immunostaining. We also examined the effect of pooled uremic sera from dialysis patients on the expression of Cbfa1 by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in bovine VSMCs in vitro.

RESULTS:

Cbfa1 and osteopontin were expressed in both the media and the intima in vessels that were calcified, but there was only minimal staining in non-calcified vessels. In vitro studies demonstrated that pooled uremic serum, compared to pooled control human serum induced the expression of Cbfa1 by RT-PCR in bovine VSMCs in a time-dependent, nonphosphorus-mediated mechanism.

CONCLUSION:

These results support that Cbfa1 is a key regulatory factor in the vascular calcification observed in dialysis patients and is up-regulated in response to many uremic toxins.

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