Supplementary Material for: Palmitic Acid Increases Medial Calcification by Inducing Oxidative Stress

Background: Aortic medial calcification is a cellular-regulated process leading to arterial stiffness. Although epidemiological studies have suggested an association between the saturation of fatty acids (FA) and arterial stiffness, there is no evidence that saturated FA can induce arterial calcification. This study investigated the capacity of palmitic acid (PA) to induce medial calcification and the signaling pathway(s) implicated in this process. Methods: Rat aortic segments and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) were exposed to calcification medium supplemented with PA. In vivo, rats were treated with warfarin to induce calcification and fed a PA-enriched diet. Results: In vitro and ex vivo, palmitate increases calcification and ROS production. Palmitate increases extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) phosphorylation and osteogenic gene expression. Inhibition of NADPH oxidase with apocynin or an siRNA prevents these effects. ERK1/2 inhibition attenuates the amplification of osteogenic gene expression and calcification induced by palmitate. In vivo, a PA-enriched diet amplified medial calcification and pulse wave velocity (PWV). These effects are mediated by ROS production as indicated by the inhibition of calcification and PWV normalization in rats concomitantly treated with apocynin. Conclusion: ROS induction by palmitate leads to ERK1/2 phosphorylation and subsequently induces the osteogenic differentiation of VSMC.