Brain vascular calcification is a prevalent age-related condition often accompanying neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases. The pathogenesis of large-vessel calcifications in peripheral tissue is well studied, but microvascular calcification in the brain remains poorly understood. Here, we report that elevated platelet-derived growth factor BB (PDGF-BB) from bone preosteoclasts contributed to cerebrovascular calcification in male mice. Aged male mice had higher serum PDGF-BB levels and a higher incidence of brain calcification compared with young mice, mainly in the thalamus. Transgenic mice with preosteoclast-specific Pdgfb overexpression exhibited elevated serum PDGF-BB levels and recapitulated age-associated thalamic calcification. Conversely, mice with preosteoclast-specific Pdgfb deletion displayed diminished age-associated thalamic calcification. In an ex vivo cerebral microvascular culture system, PDGF-BB dose-dependently promoted vascular calcification. Analysis of osteogenic gene array and single-cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) revealed that PDGF-BB upregulated multiple osteogenic differentiation genes and the phosphate transporter Slc20a1 in cerebral microvessels. Mechanistically, PDGF-BB stimulated the phosphorylation of its receptor PDGFRβ (p-PDGFRβ) and ERK (p-ERK), leading to the activation of RUNX2. This activation, in turn, induced the transcription of osteoblast differentiation genes in PCs and upregulated Slc20a1 in astrocytes. Thus, bone-derived PDGF-BB induced brain vascular calcification by activating the p-PDGFRβ/p-ERK/RUNX2 signaling cascade in cerebrovascular cells.
Jiekang Wang, Ching-Lien Fang, Kathleen Noller, Zhiliang Wei, Guanqiao Liu, Ke Shen, Kangping Song, Xu Cao, Mei Wan