Warfarin calcifies human aortic valve interstitial cells at high-phosphate conditions via pregnane X receptor
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Warfarin, a vitamin K antagonist, is the most common anticoagulant used to prevent thromboembolisms associated with atrial fibrillation or following valvular surgery. Although several studies have revealed that long-term warfarin use accelerates aortic valve calcification and the development of aortic stenosis (AS), the detailed mechanism for this phenomenon remains unclear. Therefore, our aim was twofold: to establish the conditions for warfarin-induced calcification of human aortic valve interstitial cells (HAVICs) using high-inorganic phosphate (Pi) conditions and to investigate the underlying mechanism. We prepared and cultured HAVICs from aortic valves affected by calcific aortic valve stenosis (AS group) and aortic valves affected by aortic regurgitation but without any signs of calcification (non-AS group). Under Pi concentrations of 3.2 mM, warfarin significantly increased the calcification and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of AS but not non-AS group HAVICs. Furthermore, gene expression of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2), a calcigenic marker, was significantly increased following 7 days of warfarin treatment. Warfarin-induced calcification of AS group HAVICs at 3.2 mM Pi was significantly inhibited by dorsomorphin, a Smad inhibitor, and the pregnane X receptor (PXR) inhibitors, ketoconazole and coumestrol, but was unaffected by SN-50, an NF-κB inhibitor. Warfarin was also able to increase BMP2 gene expression at a physiological Pi concentration (1.0 mM). Furthermore, excess BMP2 (30 ng/mL) facilitated warfarin-induced ALP upregulation and HAVIC calcification, an effect which was significantly reduced in the presence of coumestrol. Together, our results suggest that warfarin accelerates calcification of HAVICs from AS patients via the PXR–BMP2–ALP pathway.
KeywordsAortic valve stenosis Pregnane X receptor Calcification Warfarin Bone morphogenetic protein 2
We are grateful to Prof. Yasuyuki Ishibashi of Hirosaki University, for his consistent help, support, and encouragement. We thank Emma Andrew, PhD, from Edanz Group (www.edanzediting.com/ac) for editing a draft of this manuscript.
This work was supported by grants from JSPS KAKENHI (Grant numbers 24590310, 16K10619, 16K10449, and 17K10916); grants-in-aid of The Cardiovascular Research Fund, Tokyo, Japan; and the Hirosaki University Educational Improvement and Promotional Aid, Hirosaki, Japan.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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