Unlocking the Potential of Calprotectin Inhibition for Vascular Calcification in Chronic Kidney Disease
A Pervasive and Lethal Illness: Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an escalating health issue, especially among the ageing population in Europe, affecting nearly 30% of individuals over the age of 70. CKD is a progressive and irreversible kidney damage primarily caused by diabetes and hypertension. One of the severe complications of CKD is vascular calcification, a condition characterized by the accumulation of mineral deposits in blood vessels. This complication often leads to serious cardiovascular diseases and is among the leading causes of death in CKD patients.
Proteomic Analysis Sheds New Light
Existing therapeutic solutions for CKD have unfortunately proven to be inadequate. However, a recent study conducted by researchers from CHU de Toulouse, Inserm, and the Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier University has offered new insights into the disease. The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, used a proteomic analysis, supplemented by Elisa tests on plasma samples from CKD and dialysis patients.
Proteomic analysis is a method used to identify the presence of proteins in a biological sample. This study involved 112 Spanish and 171 French patients and revealed the presence of an inflammatory protein, calprotectin, in patients’ serum. High levels of this protein were linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular complications and higher mortality rates. These findings were further corroborated in a group of 170 Swedish patients.
Calprotectin: A Key Player in Vascular Calcification
Further research on human and mouse cells confirmed the role of calprotectin in vascular calcification. Calprotectin, a circulating damage-associated molecular pattern protein, has been reported in several inflammatory disorders, but never in vascular calcification. This discovery paves the way for new therapeutic approaches. In fact, a specific inhibitor of calprotectin, named paquinimod, showed potential effectiveness in limiting vascular calcification in human cellular models and mice.
Paquinimod prevented vascular calcification in mice suffering from CKD, confirming calprotectin’s role in the condition. Notably, calprotectin was found to promote vascular calcification by activating TLR4 (Toll-like receptor 4) and RAGE (Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-Products). These receptors are involved in the inflammatory response and have been implicated in various diseases.
Paquinimod: A Promising Therapeutic Agent
The potential of therapeutic agents like paquinimod to inhibit calprotectin and thereby limit vascular calcification opens up new avenues of treatment for chronic kidney disease. The use of paquinimod attenuated the pro-calcifying effect of calprotectin in vitro and ex vivo, demonstrating its protective role on vascular calcification. However, more research is needed to fully understand the role of calprotectin and the efficacy of paquinimod in treating vascular calcification.
These new insights into vascular calcification offer promising prospects for improving patient management and reducing mortality related to cardiovascular events. The understanding of the role of calprotectin in vascular calcification and the potential therapeutic benefits of paquinimod could significantly improve the management of CKD and its complications. However, further research is needed to fully explore these possibilities and develop effective treatments for this devastating disease.
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