Elastin haploinsufficiency impedes the progression of arterial calcification in mgp-deficient mice

Zohreh Khavandgar, Hassem Roman, Jingjing Li, Sara Lee, Hojatollah Vali, Juergen Brinckmann, Elaine C. Davis, Monzur Murshed*

*Corresponding author for this work
21 Citations (Scopus)


Matrix gla protein (MGP) is a potent inhibitor of extracellular matrix (ECM) mineralization. MGP-deficiency in humans leads to Keutel syndrome, a rare genetic disease hallmarked by abnormal soft tissue calcification. MGP-deficient (Mgp-/-) mice show progressive deposition of hydroxyapatite minerals in the arterial walls and die within 2 months of age. The mechanism of antimineralization function of MGP is not fully understood. We examined the progression of vascular calcification and expression of several chondrogenic/osteogenic markers in the thoracic aortas of Mgp-/- mice at various ages. Although cells with chondrocyte-like morphology have been reported in the calcified aorta, our gene expression data indicate that chondrogenic/osteogenic markers are not upregulated in the arteries prior to the initiation of calcification. Interestingly, arterial calcification in Mgp -/- mice appears first in the elastic laminae. Considering the known mineral scaffolding function of elastin (ELN), a major elastic lamina protein, we hypothesize that elastin content in the laminae is a critical determinant for arterial calcification in Mgp-/- mice. To investigate this, we performed micro-computed tomography (μCT) and histological analyses of the aortas of Mgp-/-;Eln+/- mice and show that elastin haploinsufficiency significantly reduces arterial calcification in this strain. Our data suggest that MGP deficiency leads to alterations of vascular ECM that may in turn initiate arterial calcification.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)327-337
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2014

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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