Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase as a target of sFRP2 in cardiac fibroblasts

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2015 Aug 1;309(3):C139-47. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00009.2015. Epub 2015 May 13.


Recent studies of myocardial infarction in secreted Frizzled-related protein 2 (sFRP2) knockout mice and our hamster heart failure therapy based on sFRP2 blockade have established sFRP2 as a key profibrotic cytokine in the heart. The failing hamster heart is marked by prominent fibrosis and calcification with elevated expression of sFRP2. Noting the involvement of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) in bone mineralization and vascular calcification, we determined whether sFRP2 might be an upstream regulator of TNAP. Biochemical assays revealed an approximately twofold increase in the activity of TNAP and elevated levels of inorganic phosphate (Pi) in the failing heart compared with the normal heart. Neither was this change detected in the liver or hamstring muscle nor was it associated with systemic hyperphosphatemia. TNAP was readily cloned from the hamster heart and upon overexpression increased the level of extracellular but not intracellular Pi, which is consistent with the cell surface location of the ectoenzyme. In line with the previous demonstration that sFRP2 blockade attenuated fibrosis, we show here that the therapy downregulated TNAP. This in vivo finding is corroborated by the in vitro study showing that cultured cardiac fibroblasts treated with recombinant sFRP2 protein exhibited progressive increase in the expression and activity of TNAP, which was completely abrogated by cycloheximide or tunicamycin. Induction of TNAP by sFRP2 is restricted to cardiac fibroblasts among the multiple cell types examined, and was not observed with sFRP4. The current work indicates that sFRP2 may promote cardiac fibrocalcification through coordinate activation of tolloid-like metalloproteinases and TNAP.

Keywords: TNAP; fibrocalcification; heart failure; sFRP2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / biosynthesis*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cricetinae
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / pathology


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Sfrp2 protein, mouse
  • ALPL protein, mouse
  • Alkaline Phosphatase