We previously demonstrated that indoxyl sulfate (IS), a uremic toxin, induces aortic calcification in hypertensive rats and induces oxidative stress and the expression of osteoblast-specific proteins in vascular smooth muscle cells. This study aimed to clarify whether IS stimulates senescence of cultured human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) and aorta in Dahl salt-sensitive hypertensive rats and whether AST-120, an oral sorbent, prevents senescence of aorta in subtotally nephrectomized uremic rats. IS increased the mRNA expression of p53 and p21 in HASMCs, whereas it did not change that of p16 and retinoblastoma protein (pRb). The IS-induced expression of p53 and p21 was suppressed by N-acetylcysteine, an antioxidant. IS promoted protein expression of p53, p21, and senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal) activity in HASMCs, and N-acetylcysteine and pifithrin-α,p-nitro, a p53 inhibitor, blocked these effects. IS upregulated prelamin A, a hallmark of vascular smooth muscle cell senescence, and downregulated FACE1/Zempste24 protein expression in HASMCs, and N-acetylcysteine suppressed these effects. Administration of IS to hypertensive rats increased expression of SA-β-gal, p53, p21, prelamin A, and oxidative stress markers such as 8-hydroxyl-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and malondialdehyde (MDA) in the cells embedded in the calcification area of arcuate aorta. Further, the uremic rat model showed positive staining for SA-β-gal, p53, p21, prelamin A, 8-OHdG, and MDA in the cells embedded in the calcification area of arcuate aorta, whereas AST-120 reduced the expression of these biomarkers. Taken together, IS accelerates vascular smooth muscle cell senescence with upregulation of p53, p21, and prelamin A and downregulation of FACE1 through oxidative stress.
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