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Circ Res. 2013 May 10;112(10):e99-109. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.300543. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

Prelamin A accelerates vascular calcification via activation of the DNA damage response and senescence-associated secretory phenotype in vascular smooth muscle cells.

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British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, Cardiovascular Division, James Black Centre, King's College London, UK.



Vascular calcification is prevalent in the aging population, yet little is known of the mechanisms driving age-associated vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotypic change.


To investigate the role of nuclear lamina disruption, a specific hallmark of VSMC aging, in driving VSMC osteogenic differentiation.


Prelamin A, the unprocessed form of the nuclear lamina protein lamin A, accumulated in calcifying human VSMCs in vitro and in vivo, and its overexpression promoted VSMC osteogenic differentiation and mineralization. During VSMC aging in vitro, prelamin A accumulation occurred concomitantly with increased p16 expression and osteogenic differentiation and was associated with increased levels of DNA damage. Microarray analysis showed that DNA damage repair pathways were significantly impaired in VSMCs expressing prelamin A and that chemical inhibition and siRNA depletion of the DNA damage response kinases ataxia-telangiectasia mutated/ataxia-telangiectasia- and Rad3-related effectively blocked VSMC osteogenic differentiation and mineralization. In coculture experiments, prelamin A-expressing VSMCs induced alkaline phosphatase activity in mesenchymal progenitor cells, and this was abrogated by inhibition of ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated signaling, suggesting that DNA damage induces the secretion of pro-osteogenic factors by VSMCs. Cytokine array analysis identified several ataxia-telangiectasia mutated-dependent senescence-associated secretory phenotype factors/cytokines released by prelamin A-positive VSMCs, including the calcification regulators bone morphogenetic protein 2, osteoprotegerin, and interleukin 6.


Prelamin A promotes VSMC calcification and aging by inducing persistent DNA damage signaling, which acts upstream of VSMC osteogenic differentiation and the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Agents that target the DNA damage response and prelamin A toxicity may be potential therapies for the treatment of vascular calcification.


DNA damage; aging; calcification; lamin A/C; osteogenesis; senescence; vascular smooth muscle cells

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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