This study aimed to investigate the effects of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) on the calcification of human arterial smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) and to explore whether AGEs can promote the calcification of HASMCs by activating the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT-glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3-β) axis. Cultured HASMCs were divided into five groups: blank control group, dimethyl sulfoxide (vehicle) group, AGEs group, LY294002 (AKT inhibitor) group, and TWS119 (GSK3-β inhibitor) group. Cells were pretreated with either vehicle, LY294002, or TWS119 for 2 hours followed by incubation with AGEs (25 μg/mL) for 5 days, and the expression levels of proteins in each group were analyzed by western blotting. AGE treatment promoted HASMC calcification, which coincided with increased expression of p-AKT and p-GSK3-β (serine 9). Also, AGEs upregulated the expression of osteoprotegerin and bone morphogenetic protein, and these effects were suppressed by LY294002 but enhanced by TWS119. In conclusion, AGEs promote calcification of HASMCs, and this effect is ameliorated by inhibition of AKT activity but potentiated by inhibition of GSK3-β activity. Hence, AGEs trigger HASMC calcification by regulating PI3K/AKT-GSK3-β signaling.© 2021 The Author(s). Published by BRI.
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