Stellate ganglion block ameliorates vascular calcification by inhibiting endoplasmic reticulum stress

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Vascular calcification (VC) underlies substantial cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. No clinically therapies have emerged presently. Stellate ganglion block (SGB) is one of the most often used sympathetic blockade procedure, and regulates vascular dilation. However, the effect of SGB on VC is still unknown. Therefore, we aimed to identify the ameliorative effect of SGB on VC.

Key finding:

In vivo VC was induced in rats by administering vitamin D3 plus nicotine (VDN), and in vitro calcification of rat aortic vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) was induced by β-glycerophosphate. In VDN rats, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and Calcium contents were higher than that in control rats. The transformation of VSMC from contractile to osteoblast-like phenotype was observed in calcified aorta. SGB ameliorated the increase of ALP activity and Calcium content, and the transformation of VSMC in calcified aorta. The stimulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) in calcified aorta was also attenuated by SGB treatment. The inducer of ERS, tunicamycin could block the beneficial effect of SGB on VC, and the ERS inhibitor, 4-PBA could mimic the amelioration of SGB. Furthermore, SGB attenuated the increased plasma levels of norepinephrine in VDN rats. In vitro experiments, norepinephrine exaggerated VSMC calcification, phenotype transformation and ERS.


These results demonstrate that SGB could inhibit sympathetic nervous activity, and then prevent the activation of ERS followed by ameliorating VC. Sympathetic over-activation might play critical role in the pathogenesis of VC, which provides new strategy and target for therapy and prevention of VC.

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