Inhibition of Slc39a14/Slc39a8 reduce vascular calcification via alleviating iron overload induced ferroptosis in vascular smooth muscle cells

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2024 May 29;23(1):186. doi: 10.1186/s12933-024-02224-z.


Background: Vascular calcification (VC) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Recently, ferroptosis has been recognised as a novel therapeutic target for cardiovascular diseases. Although an association between ferroptosis and vascular calcification has been reported, the role and mechanism of iron overload in vascular calcification are still poorly understood. Specifically, further in-depth research is required on whether metalloproteins SLC39a14 and SLC39a8 are involved in ferroptosis induced by iron overload.

Methods: R language was employed for the differential analysis of the dataset, revealing the correlation between ferroptosis and calcification. The experimental approaches encompassed both in vitro and in vivo studies, incorporating the use of iron chelators and models of iron overload. Additionally, gain- and loss-of-function experiments were conducted to investigate iron's effects on vascular calcification comprehensively. Electron microscopy, immunofluorescence, western blotting, and real-time polymerase chain reaction were used to elucidate how Slc39a14 and Slc39a8 mediate iron overload and promote calcification.

Results: Ferroptosis was observed in conjunction with vascular calcification (VC); the association was consistently confirmed by in vitro and in vivo studies. Our results showed a positive correlation between iron overload in VSMCs and calcification. Iron chelators are effective in reversing VC and iron overload exacerbates this process. The expression levels of the metal transport proteins Slc39a14 and Slc39a8 were significantly upregulated during calcification; the inhibition of their expression alleviated VC. Conversely, Slc39a14 overexpression exacerbates calcification and promotes intracellular iron accumulation in VSMCs.

Conclusions: Our research demonstrates that iron overload occurs during VC, and that inhibition of Slc39a14 and Slc39a8 significantly relieves VC by intercepting iron overload-induced ferroptosis in VSMCs, providing new insights into the VC treatment.

Keywords: Ferroptosis; Iron overload; Iron transport; Oxidative stress; Vascular calcification.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cation Transport Proteins* / genetics
  • Cation Transport Proteins* / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Ferroptosis* / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Iron Chelating Agents* / pharmacology
  • Iron Chelating Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Iron Overload / metabolism
  • Iron Overload / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular* / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular* / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular* / pathology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle* / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle* / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle* / pathology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vascular Calcification* / metabolism
  • Vascular Calcification* / pathology


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • SLC39A14 protein, mouse
  • Iron
  • SLC39A8 protein, human
  • SLC39A14 protein, human