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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005 Apr;25(4):686-91. Epub 2004 Dec 29.

Chondrogenesis mediated by PPi depletion promotes spontaneous aortic calcification in NPP1-/- mice.

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1
Rheumatology/Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center/University of California at San Diego, School of Medicine, CA 92161, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We recently linked human arterial media calcification of infancy to heritable PC-1/nucleotide pyrophosphatase phosphodiesterase 1 (NPP1) deficiency. NPP1 hydrolyzes ATP to generate PP(i), a physicochemical inhibitor of hydroxyapatite crystal growth. But pathologic calcification in NPP1 deficiency states is tissue-restricted and in perispinal ligaments is endochondral differentiation-mediated rather than simply a dystrophic process. Because ectopic chondro-osseous differentiation promotes artery calcification in atherosclerosis and other disorders, we tested the hypothesis that NPP1 and PP(i) deficiencies regulate cell phenotype plasticity to promote artery calcification.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Using cultured multipotential NPP1-/- mouse bone marrow stromal cells, we demonstrated spontaneous chondrogenesis inhibitable by treatment with exogenous PP(i). We also demonstrated cartilage-specific gene expression, upregulated alkaline phosphatase, decreased expression of the physiological calcification inhibitor osteopontin, and increased calcification in NPP1-/- aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Similar changes were demonstrated in aortic SMCs from ank/ank mice, which are extracellular PP(i)-depleted because of defective ANK transmembrane PP(i) transport activity. Moreover, NPP1-/- and ank/ank mice demonstrated aortic media calcification by von Kossa staining, and intra-aortic cartilage-specific collagen gene expression was demonstrated in situ in NPP1-/- mice.

CONCLUSIONS:

NPP1 and PP(i) deficiencies modulate phenotype plasticity in artery SMCs and chondrogenesis in mesenchymal precursors, thereby stimulating artery calcification by modulating cell differentiation.

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