Author(s): Krger T, Oelenberg S, Kaesler N, Schurgers LJ, van de Sandt AM,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Vascular calcification is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Once thought to be a passive process, vascular calcification is now known to be actively prevented by proteins acting systemically (fetuin-A) or locally (matrix Gla protein). Warfarin is a vitamin K antagonist, widely prescribed to reduce coagulation by inhibiting vitamin K-dependent coagulation factors. Recently, it became clear that vitamin K antagonists also affect vascular calcification by inactivation of matrix Gla protein. Here, we investigated functional cardiovascular characteristics in a mouse model with warfarin-induced media calcification. APPROACH AND RESULTS: DBA/2 mice received diets with variable concentrations of warfarin (0.03, 0.3, and 3 mg/g) with vitamin K1 at variable time intervals (1, 4, and 7 weeks). Von Kossa staining revealed that warfarin treatment induced calcified areas in both medial layer of aorta and heart in a dose- and time-dependent fashion, which could be inhibited by simultaneous vitamin K2 treatment. With ongoing calcification, matrix Gla protein mRNA expression decreased, and inactive matrix Gla protein expression increased. TdT-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling-positive apoptosis increased, and vascular smooth muscle cell number was concomitantly reduced by warfarin treatment. On a functional level, warfarin treatment augmented aortic peak velocity, aortic valve-peak gradient, and carotid pulse-wave velocity. CONCLUSION: Warfarin induced significant calcification with resulting functional cardiovascular damage in DBA/2 wild-type mice. The model would enable future researchers to decipher mechanisms of vascular calcification and may guide them in the development of new therapeutic strategies.
This article was published in Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol
and referenced in Journal of Cardiovascular Diseases & Diagnosis