Metformin ameliorates valve interstitial cell calcification by promoting autophagic flux.

Kanchan Phadwal*, Xi Tan, E Koo , D Zhu, Vicky MacRae

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) is the most common heart disease of the developed world. It has previously been established that metformin administration reduces arterial calcification via autophagy; however, whether metformin directly regulates CAVD has yet to be elucidated. In the present study we investigated whether metformin alleviates valvular calcification through the autophagy-mediated recycling of Runx2.

Calcification was reduced in rat valve interstitial cells (RVICs) by metformin treatment (0.5mM - 1.5mM) (P<0.01), with a marked decrease in Runx2 protein expression compared to control cells (P<0.05). Additionally, upregulated expression of Atg3 and Atg7 (key proteins required for autophagosome formation), was observed following metformin treatment (1mM). Blocking autophagic flux using Bafilomycin-A1 revealed colocalisation of Runx2 with LC3 puncta in metformin treated RVICs (P<0.001). Comparable Runx2 accumulation was seen in LC3 positive autolysosomes present within cells that had been treated with both metformin and hydroxychloroquine in combination (P<0.001). Mechanistic studies employing three-way co-immunoprecipitation with Runx2, p62 and LC3 suggested that Runx2 binds to LC3-II upon metformin treatment in VICs.

Together these studies suggest that the utilisation of metformin may represent a novel strategy for the treatment of CAVD.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21435
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date5 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis/drug therapy
  • Autophagy
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 1 Subunit/genetics
  • Metformin/pharmacology
  • Rats


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