Sodium-dependent phosphate cotransporters and phosphate-induced calcification of vascular smooth muscle cells: redundant roles for PiT-1 and PiT-2

Matthew H Crouthamel, Wei Ling Lau, Elizabeth M Leaf, Nicholas W Chavkin, Mary C Wallingford, Danielle F Peterson, Xianwu Li, Yonggang Liu, Michael T Chin, Moshe Levi, Cecilia M Giachelli
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 2013, 33 (11): 2625-32

OBJECTIVE: Elevated serum phosphate has emerged as a major risk factor for vascular calcification. The sodium-dependent phosphate cotransporter, PiT-1, was previously shown to be required for phosphate-induced osteogenic differentiation and calcification of cultured human vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), but its importance in vascular calcification in vivo and the potential role of its homologue, PiT-2, have not been determined. We investigated the in vivo requirement for PiT-1 in vascular calcification using a mouse model of chronic kidney disease and the potential compensatory role of PiT-2 using in vitro knockdown and overexpression strategies.

APPROACH AND RESULTS: Mice with targeted deletion of PiT-1 in VSMCs were generated (PiT-1(Δsm)). PiT-1 mRNA levels were undetectable, whereas PiT-2 mRNA levels were increased 2-fold in the vascular aortic media of PiT-1(Δsm) compared with PiT-1(flox/flox) control. When arterial medial calcification was induced in PiT-1(Δsm) and PiT-1(flox/flox) by chronic kidney disease followed by dietary phosphate loading, the degree of aortic calcification was not different between genotypes, suggesting compensation by PiT-2. Consistent with this possibility, VSMCs isolated from PiT-1(Δsm) mice had no PiT-1 mRNA expression, increased PiT-2 mRNA levels, and no difference in sodium-dependent phosphate uptake or phosphate-induced matrix calcification compared with PiT-1(flox/flox) VSMCs. Knockdown of PiT-2 decreased phosphate uptake and phosphate-induced calcification of PiT-1(Δsm) VSMCs. Furthermore, overexpression of PiT-2 restored these parameters in human PiT-1-deficient VSMCs.

CONCLUSIONS: PiT-2 can mediate phosphate uptake and calcification of VSMCs in the absence of PiT-1. Mechanistically, PiT-1 and PiT-2 seem to serve redundant roles in phosphate-induced calcification of VSMCs.

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