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Revista de Osteoporosis y Metabolismo Mineral

On-line version ISSN 2173-2345Print version ISSN 1889-836X


CARRILLO LOPEZ, N et al. Effect of supra-physiological calcitriol doses on protein expression of vascular smooth muscle cells. Rev Osteoporos Metab Miner [online]. 2017, vol.9, n.4, pp.130-138. ISSN 2173-2345.


Calcitriol, essential for maintaining calcium and phosphorus homeostasis in the body, may damage the vascular system in high doses, increasing the risk of calcification.

Objective: To assess the differential expression of proteins in vascular smooth muscle cells subjected to a supra-physiological dose of calcitriol.

Material and methods:

Rat vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC-R) were cultured in the presence of 10-7 M calcitriol for 10 days. The change of muscle to bone phenotype was assessed by alkaline phosphatase activity, immunocytochemistry, quantitative polymerase chain reaction in time (QPCR) and Western blot analysis. By means of two-dimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry was evaluated for the differential protein pattern in presence and absence of 10-7M calcitriol.


Exposure to a high dose of calcitriol decreased elastin gene expression and the protein and gene expression of α-actin protein, increased gene expression of osteocalcin and Runx2 and expression of osteoprotegerin protein. At the proteomic level, 10 differentially expressed proteins were identified, highlighting the increase in mitochondrial superoxide dismutase, cytoskeleton proteins, vesicle formation and inflammasome. On the contrary, there were 4 proteins that diminished expression, highlighting some of muscular type.


In a model of vascular smooth muscle cells submitted to a supra-physiological dose of calcitriol an increased expression of cytoskeleton proteins was observed. These proteins form matrix vesicles and participate in clearance of free radicals and in the inflammatory response. The loss of muscle phenotype was represented by decreased expression of typically muscle proteins.

Keywords : vascular calcification; calcitriol; proteomics.

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