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      Apoptosis regulates human vascular calcification in vitro: evidence for initiation of vascular calcification by apoptotic bodies.

      Circulation Research
      Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones, pharmacology, Anthraquinones, Antigens, CD95, immunology, Apoptosis, Calcinosis, drug therapy, metabolism, pathology, Calcium, Calcium Radioisotopes, Cell Division, drug effects, Cells, Cultured, Coloring Agents, Cycloheximide, Electron Probe Microanalysis, Humans, Immunoglobulin M, In Situ Nick-End Labeling, Ki-67 Antigen, Muscle, Smooth, Vascular, cytology, Protein Synthesis Inhibitors

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          The mechanisms involved in the initiation of vascular calcification are not known, but matrix vesicles, the nucleation sites for calcium crystal formation in bone, are likely candidates, because similar structures have been found in calcified arteries. The regulation of matrix vesicle production is poorly understood but is thought to be associated with apoptotic cell death. In the present study, we investigated the role of apoptosis in vascular calcification. We report that apoptosis occurs in a human vascular calcification model in which postconfluent vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) cultures form nodules spontaneously and calcify after approximately 28 days. Apoptosis occurred before the onset of calcification in VSMC nodules and was detected by several methods, including nuclear morphology, the TUNEL technique, and external display of phosphatidyl serine. Inhibition of apoptosis with the caspase inhibitor ZVAD.fmk reduced calcification in nodules by approximately 40%, as measured by the cresolphthalein method and alizarin red staining. In addition, when apoptosis was stimulated in nodular cultures with anti-Fas IgM, there was a 10-fold increase in calcification. Furthermore, incubation of VSMC-derived apoptotic bodies with (45)Ca demonstrated that, like matrix vesicles, they can concentrate calcium. These observations provide evidence that apoptosis precedes VSMC calcification and that apoptotic bodies derived from VSMCs may act as nucleating structures for calcium crystal formation.

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