Involvement of parathyroid hormone-related protein in vascular calcification of chronic haemodialysis patients


  • No conflict of interest to disclose.

Professor Songmin Huang, Division of Nephrology, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan Province, China. Email:


Aims:  To investigate the role of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) in vascular calcification of patients with chronic hemodialysis.

Methods:  The inferior epigastric arteries were obtained from 23 patients on chronic haemodialysis and 16 patients with renal carcinoma as control. Haematoxylin-eosin staining, elastic fibre staining, Alizarin Red calcium staining and immunohistochemical staining of PTHrP, bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2), Cbfa1/Runx2 were performed. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to examine mRNA expressions of PTHrP, BMP-2 and Cbfa1/Runx2. Western blot and real-time PCR were used to detect the effects of PTHrP-siRNA and rh-PTHrP-1–34 on the expressions of PTHrP, BMP-2 and Cbfa1/Runx2 in human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMC). Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities and intracellular calcium content in HASMCs were assessed after treatment with 10 mmol/L β-glycerol phosphoric acid for 48 h.

Results:  Vascular calcification was confirmed in 78.2% of patients on chronic haemodialysis, and the expressions of PTHrP, BMP-2 and Cbfa1 in the arteries were significantly upregulated. PTHrP-siRNA could downregulate the expression of PTHrP by 60%, BMP-2 by 25% and Cbfa1 by 25% at 24 h (P < 0.05). Exogenous rh-PTHrP-1–34 could upregulate the expressions of BMP-2 and Cbfa1 by 1.37-fold and 1.46-fold, respectively, at 24 h in a time-independent manner (P < 0.05), which were attenuated by PTHrP-siRNA. Moreover, it could promote intracellular calcium deposition and increase ALP activities, which were partially blocked by PTHrP-siRNA (P < 0.05).

Conclusions:  Vascular calcification was common in patients with chronic haemodialysis, to which PTHrP might contribute by activating BMP-2/ Cbfa1 signalling pathway.