PiT-2, a type III sodium-dependent phosphate transporter, is a causative gene for the brain arteriolar calcification in people with familial basal ganglion calcification. Here we examined the effect of PiT-2 haploinsufficiency on vascular calcification in uremic mice using wild-type and global PiT-2 heterozygous knockout mice. PiT-2 haploinsufficiency enhanced the development of vascular calcification in mice with chronic kidney disease fed a high-phosphate diet. No differences were observed in the serum mineral biomarkers and kidney function between the wild-type and PiT-2 heterozygous knockout groups. Micro computed tomography analyses of femurs showed that haploinsufficiency of PiT-2 decreased trabecular bone mineral density in uremia. In vitro, sodium-dependent phosphate uptake was decreased in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells isolated from PiT-2 heterozygous knockout mice compared with those from wild-type mice. PiT-2 haploinsufficiency increased phosphate-induced calcification of cultured vascular smooth muscle cells compared to the wild-type. Furthermore, compared to wild-type vascular smooth muscle cells, PiT-2 deficient vascular smooth muscle cells had lower osteoprotegerin levels and increased matrix calcification, which was attenuated by osteoprotegerin supplementation. Thus, PiT-2 in vascular smooth muscle cells protects against phosphate-induced vascular calcification and may be a therapeutic target in the chronic kidney disease population.
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