Interleukin-18 Enhances Vascular Calcification and Osteogenic Differentiation of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells Through TRPM7 Activation
Vascular calcification (VC) is an important predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Osteogenic differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) is a key mechanism of VC. Recent studies show that IL-18 (interleukin-18) favors VC while TRPM7 (transient receptor potential melastatin 7) channel upregulation inhibits VC. However, the relationship between IL-18 and TRPM7 is unclear. We questioned whether IL-18 enhances VC and osteogenic differentiation of VSMCs through TRPM7 channel activation.Approach and Results—
Coronary artery calcification and serum IL-18 were measured in patients by computed tomographic scanning and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively. Primary rat VSMCs calcification were induced by high inorganic phosphate and exposed to IL-18. VSMCs were also treated with TRPM7 antagonist 2-aminoethoxy-diphenylborate or TRPM7 small interfering RNA to block TRPM7 channel activity and expression. TRPM7 currents were recorded by patch-clamp. Human studies showed that serum IL-18 levels were positively associated with coronary artery calcium scores (r=0.91; P<0.001). In VSMCs, IL-18 significantly decreased expression of contractile markers α-smooth muscle actin, smooth muscle 22 α, and increased calcium deposition, alkaline phosphatase activity, and expression of osteogenic differentiation markers bone morphogenetic protein-2, Runx2 (runt-related transcription factor 2), and osteocalcin (P<0.05). IL-18 increased TRPM7 expression through ERK1/2 (extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2) signaling activation, and TRPM7 currents were augmented by IL-18 treatment. Inhibition of TRPM7 channel by 2-aminoethoxy-diphenylborate or TRPM7 small interfering RNA prevented IL-18–enhanced osteogenic differentiation and VSMCs calcification.Conclusions—
These findings suggest that coronary artery calcification is associated with increased IL-18 levels. IL-18 enhances VSMCs osteogenic differentiation and subsequent VC induced by β-glycerophosphate via TRPM7 channel activation. Accordingly, IL-18 may contribute to VC in proinflammatory conditions.