Differential expression of bone matrix regulatory proteins in human atherosclerotic plaques

Cherida R. Dhore, Jack P.M. Cleutjens, Esther Lutgens, Kitty B.J.M. Cleutjens, Piet P.M. Geusens, Peter J.E.H.M. Kitslaar, Jan H.M. Tordoir, Henri M.H. Spronk, Cees Vermeer, Mat J.A.P. Daemen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, we examined the expression of regulators of bone formation and osteoclastogenesis in human atherosclerosis because accumulating evidence suggests that atherosclerotic calcification shares features with bone calcification. The most striking finding of this study was the constitutive immunoreactivity of matrix G1a protein, osteocalcin, and bone sialoprotein in nondiseased aortas and the absence of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2, BMP-4, osteopontin, and osteonectin in nondiseased aortas and early atherosclerotic lesions. When atherosclerotic plaques demonstrated calcification or bone formation, BMP-2, BMP-4, osteopontin, and osteonectin were upregulated. Interestingly, this upregulation was associated with a sustained immunoreactivity of matrix G1a protein, osteocalcin, and bone sialoprotein. The 2 modulators of osteoclastogenesis (osteoprotegerin [OPG] and its ligand, OPGL) were present in the nondiseased vessel wall and in early atherosclerotic lesions. In advanced calcified lesions, OPG was present in bone structures, whereas OPGL was only present in the extracellular matrix surrounding calcium deposits. The observed expression patterns suggest a tight regulation of the expression of bone matrix regulatory proteins during human atherogenesis. The expression pattern of both OPG and OPGL during atherogenesis might suggest a regulatory role of these proteins not only in osteoclastogenesis but also in atherosclerotic calcification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1998-2003
Number of pages6
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2001


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Bone matrix proteins
  • Osteoclastogenesis
  • Osteogenesis
  • Vascular calcification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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