Melatonin Attenuates Calcium Deposition from Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells by Activating Mitochondrial Fusion and Mitophagy via an AMPK/OPA1 Signaling Pathway

Chen, W.Ren.; Zhou, Y.Jie.; Yang, J.Qi.; Liu, F.; Wu, X.Ping.; Sha, Y.

Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2020: 5298483


ISSN/ISBN: 1942-0900
PMID: 32377301
DOI: 10.1155/2020/5298483
Accession: 070096135

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Mitochondrial fusion/mitophagy plays a role in cardiovascular calcification. Melatonin has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease. This study sought to explore whether melatonin attenuates vascular calcification by regulating mitochondrial fusion/mitophagy via the AMP-activated protein kinase/optic atrophy 1 (AMPK/OPA1) signaling pathway. The effects of melatonin on vascular calcification were investigated in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Calcium deposits were visualized by Alizarin Red S staining, while calcium content and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity were used to evaluate osteogenic differentiation. Western blots were used to measure expression of runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), mitofusin 2 (Mfn2), mito-light chain 3 (mito-LC3) II, and cleaved caspase 3. Melatonin markedly reduced calcium deposition and ALP activity. Runx2 and cleaved caspase 3 were downregulated in response to melatonin, whereas Mfn2 and mito-LC3II were enhanced and accompanied by decreased mitochondrial superoxide levels. Melatonin also maintained mitochondrial function and promoted mitochondrial fusion/mitophagy via the OPA1 pathway. However, OPA1 deletion abolished the protective effects of melatonin on VSMC calcification. Melatonin treatment significantly increased p-AMPK and OPA1 protein expression, whereas treatment with compound C ablated the observed benefits of melatonin treatment. Collectively, our results demonstrate that melatonin protects VSMCs against calcification by promoting mitochondrial fusion/mitophagy via the AMPK/OPA1 pathway.