Less calcemic Vitamin D analogs enhance creatine kinase specific activity and modulate responsiveness to gonadal steroids in the vasculature

Dalia Somjen, Gary H. Posner, Naftali Stern

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Vitamin D receptors are widely expressed in the cardiovascular system, in which Vitamin D and its metabolites exert a variety of biological activities such as regulation of cellular proliferation and differentiation, cell calcium transients and cell energy metabolism in vitro. The latter is mediated through the control of the brain type creatine kinase specific activity (CK), which serves to provide a readily available reservoir for ATP generation under increased work-load. In the present study we undertook to assess the role of Vitamin D on energy metabolism in the rat heart and aorta in vivo by using CK, which is a key energy metabolizing enzyme and compare Vitamin D depleted and repleted animals. Vascular tissues from female or male Vitamin D-depleted rats showed 61-80% lower CK activity in the aorta (Ao) and left ventricle of the heart (Lv) than control, Vitamin D-replete rats. Moreover, neither estradiol-17β (E2) nor dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which increases CK specific activity in Ao and Lv of intact female or male rats, respectively, were able to stimulate CK in Vitamin D-depleted rats. Treatment of intact female rats for 2 weeks or 2 months with the less-calcemic Vitamin D analogs JKF 1624F2-2 (JKF) or QW 1624F2-2 (QW) (Fig. 1), did not significantly affect CK specific activity. However, after pretreatment with these analogs, there was an up regulation of the E2-induced CK response in Ao and Lv. In intact female rats, all Vitamin D analogs also potentiated the in vivo CK response to the SERMs raloxifene (Ral) and tamoxifen (TAM) in Ao and Lv. However the inhibitory effect of Ral or TAM on E2-induced CK activity was lost after pretreatment with Vitamin D analogs. The non-calcemic analog CB 1093 (CB) induced a significant increase in estradiol receptor α (ERα) protein in both myocardial and aortic tissue from intact and from ovariectomized female rats. Collectively, these results indicate that Vitamin D analogs modulate cell energy homeostasis in vascular tissues through induction of CK and up regulation of the response and sensitivity of CK in vascular tissues to E2 and to SERMs, possibly through via an increase in ERα protein in female derived organs. These results corroborate our previous in vitro studies in human vascular cells and further suggest that the Vitamin D system plays an important physiological role in maintaining normal cell energy reservoir in the vasculature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Aorta
  • Creatine kinase
  • Heart
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D analogs


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