This study was undertaken to investigate the possible ameliorative influences of febuxostat (FEB) on vitamin D3 plus nicotine (VDN)-induced vascular calcification (VC) in Wistar rats. VDN rats received a single dose of vitamin D3 (300.000 IU/kg, I.M) and two oral doses of nicotine (25 mg/kg) on day 1. They were then administrated FEB, in two doses (10 and 15 mg/kg/day, orally), or the drug vehicle for 4 weeks. Age-matched normal rats served as control. At the end of the experiment, body weight, kidney function parameters, serum ionic composition, cardiovascular measures, aortic calcium deposition and aortic levels of oxidative stress markers, interleukin 1β (IL-1β), runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and osteopontin (OPN) were determined. Aortic immunoexpressions of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) were evaluated. FEB significantly restored body weight loss, ameliorated kidney function and diminished serum disturbances of calcium and phosphorus in VDN rats. Moreover, FEB reduced VDN-induced elevations in aortic calcium deposition, SBP and DBP. FEB (15 mg/kg) markedly decreased left ventricular hypertrophy and bradycardia in VDN group. Mechanistically, FEB dose-dependently improved oxidative damage, decreased levels of IL-1β and Runx2, lessened expression of TNF-α, iNOS and MMP-9 and enhanced expression of OPN and α-SMA in VDN aortas relative to controls. These findings indicate that FEB, mainly at the higher administered dose (15 mg/kg), successfully attenuated VDN-induced VC. FEB may be useful in reducing VC in patients at high risk, including those with chronic kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.
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