Generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by early onset of extensive mineralization of the cardiovascular system. The classical forms of GACI are caused by mutations in the ENPP1 gene, encoding a membrane-bound pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase that hydrolyzes ATP to AMP and inorganic pyrophosphate. The asj-2J mouse harboring a spontaneous mutation in the Enpp1 gene has been characterized as a model for GACI. These mutant mice develop ectopic mineralization in skin and vascular connective tissues as well as in cartilage and collagen-rich tendons and ligaments. This study examined in detail the temporal ectopic mineralization phenotype of connective tissues in this mouse model, utilizing a novel cryo-histological method that does not require decalcification of bones. The wild type, heterozygous, and homozygous mice were administered fluorescent mineralization labels at 4 weeks (calcein), 10 weeks (alizarin complexone), and 11 weeks of age (demeclocycline). Twenty-four hours later, outer ears, muzzle skin, trachea, aorta, shoulders, and vertebrae were collected from these mice and examined for progression of mineralization. The results revealed differential timeline for disease initiation and progression in various tissues of this mouse model. It also highlights the advantages of cryo-histological fluorescent imaging technique to study mineral deposition in mouse models of ectopic mineralization disorders.
Siu, Sarah Y.; Dyment, Nathaniel A.; Rowe, David W.; Sundberg, John P.; Uitto, Jouni; and Li, Qiaoli, "Variable patterns of ectopic mineralization in Enpp1asj-2J mice, a model for generalized arterial calcification of infancy." (2016). Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 67.
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