AGEs/RAGE Promote Osteogenic Differentiation in Rat Bone Marrow-Derived Endothelial Progenitor Cells via MAPK Signaling
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Systemic vascular impairment is the most common complication of diabetes. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) can exacerbate diabetes-related vascular damage by affecting the intima and media through a variety of mechanisms. In the study, we demonstrated that AGEs and their membrane receptor RAGE could induce the differentiation of EPCs into osteoblasts under certain circumstances, thereby promoting accelerated atherosclerosis. Differentiation into osteoblasts was confirmed by positive staining for DiI-acetylated fluorescently labeled low-density lipoprotein and FITC-conjugated Ulex europaeus agglutinin. During differentiation, expression of receptor for AGE (RAGE) was significantly upregulated. This upregulation was attenuated by transfection with RAGE-targeting small interfering (si)RNA. siRNA-mediated knockdown of RAGE expression significantly inhibited the upregulation of AGE-induced calcification-related proteins, such as runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) and osteoprotegerin (OPG). Additional experiments showed that AGE induction of EPCs significantly induced ERK, p38MAPK, and JNK activation. The AGE-induced upregulation of osteoblast proteins (RUNX2 and OPG) was suppressed by treatment with a p38MAPK inhibitor (SB203580) or JNK inhibitor (SP600125), but not by treatment with an ERK inhibitor (PD98059), which indicated that AGE-induced osteoblast differentiation from EPCs may be mediated by p38MAPK and JNK signaling, but not by ERK signaling. These data suggested that AGEs may bind to RAGE on the EPC membrane to trigger differentiation into osteoblasts. The underlying mechanism appears to involve the p38MAPK and JNK1/2 pathways, but not the ERK1/2 pathway.