Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.49(1) > 1081476

J Nutr Health. 2016 Feb;49(1):59-62. Korean.
Published online February 29, 2016.
© 2016 The Korean Nutrition Society
Role of zinc for calcification inhibitor protein in vascular smooth muscle cell plaque formation
Mee-Young Shin and In-Sook Kwun
Department of Food science and Nutrition, Andong National University, Andong 36729, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-54-820-5917, Email:
Received February 01, 2016; Revised February 16, 2016; Accepted February 17, 2016.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



Zinc, a biomineral present within and outside cells, manages various cellular mechanisms. In this study, we examined whether zinc was involved in vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) calcification via regulation of calcification inhibitor protein, osteopontin (OPN).


Rat aorta cell line (A7r5 cells) and primary vascular smooth muscle cells (pVSMCs) from rat aorta were cultured with phosphate (1-5 mM) and zinc (0-15 µM) as appropriate, along with osteoblasts (MC3T3-E1) as control. The cells were then stained for Ca and P deposition for calcification examination as well as osteopontin expression as calcification inhibitor protein was measured.


Both Ca and phosphate deposition increased as the addition of phosphate increased. In the same manner, the expression of osteopontin was upregulated as the addition of phosphate increased in both cell types. When zinc was added, Ca and P deposition decreased in VSMCs, while it increased in osteoblasts.


The results imply that zinc may prevent VSMC calcification by stimulating calcification inhibitor protein OPN synthesis in VSMCs.

Keywords: vascular smooth muscle cells; calcification; osteopontin; osteoblasts


Fig. 1
The addition of phosphate induced Ca (A) and P (B) deposition in vascular smooth muscle cells (pVSMCs and A7r5 cells) as well as in osteoblasts (MC3T3-E1 cells). Cells were cultured with the designated phosphate levels for 12 days and stained for Ca (A, in red) and P (B, in black) deposition.
Click for larger image

Fig. 2
Calcification inhibitor protein, osteopontin, upregulated as the addition of P in creased in both VSMCs (A, A7r5) and osteoblasts (B, MC3T3-E1). Cells were cultured with the designated P level for 12 days.
Click for larger image

Fig. 3
The addition of zinc prevented Ca and P accumulation in vascular smooth muscle cell A7r5 under calcified condition (A. at 3 and 5 mM P addition), while zinc stimulated Ca and P accumulation in osteoblasts. Cells were cultured with the designated Zn and phosphate level for 12 days.
Click for larger image


This work was supported by 2012 ANU Industry-Academic Research Grant from Andong National University.

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