MOVAS-1 cell line: a new in vitro model of vascular calcification

Neil Mackenzie, D Zhu, L Longley, C S Patterson, S Kommareddy, Vicky MacRae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vascular calcification has severe clinical consequences in a number of diseases, including diabetes, atherosclerosis and end-stage renal disease. The in vitro calcification of primary mouse, human and bovine vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) is commonly employed to examine the mechanisms of vascular calcification. However, to date, no published studies have utilised a murine cell line to investigate this process. In the present study, we aimed to determine whether the mouse VSMC line MOVAS-1 can calcify in vitro. We established that the calcification of MOVAS-1 cells can be induced in the presence of calcifying medium (containing β-glycerophosphate and ascorbic acid), as detected by Alizarin Red and von Kossa staining, and quantification of calcium deposition and alkaline phosphatase activity. We also showed that the time course of MOVAS-1 calcification is comparable to that of the primary murine aortic VSMCs, establishing the MOVAS-1 cells as a feasible and relevant model. Significant increases in the mRNA expression profile of key genes associated with vascular calcification (Ocn, Akp2 and PiT-1) were observed in MOVAS-1 cells cultured under calcifying conditions, with similar changes in expression in murine aortic VSMCs. Furthermore, a significant reduction in calcification was observed in MOVAS-1 cells following treatment with levamisole and etidronate, known inhibitors of calcification. In conclusion, we demonstrated that the MOVAS-1 line is a reliable, convenient and economical system in which to investigate vascular calcification in vitro, and will make a useful contribution to increasing our understanding of this pathological process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-8
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Animals
  • Anthraquinones
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Calcinosis
  • Calcium
  • Cell Line
  • Coloring Agents
  • Etidronic Acid
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycerophosphates
  • Levamisole
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular
  • Osteocalcin
  • Phosphates
  • Transcription Factor Pit-1
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Vascular Diseases


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