Research Papers:

Etidronate prevents, but does not reverse, ectopic mineralization in a mouse model of pseudoxanthoma elasticum (Abcc6−/−)

Qiaoli Li _, Joshua Kingman, John P. Sundberg, Michael A. Levine and Jouni Uitto

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:30721-30730. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10738

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Qiaoli Li1, Joshua Kingman1, John P. Sundberg2, Michael A. Levine3 and Jouni Uitto1

1Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, The Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

2The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, USA

3Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Correspondence to:

Qiaoli Li, email: [email protected]

Keywords: pseudoxanthoma elasticum; ectopic mineralization; etidronate treatment; bisphosphonates; mouse model

Received: March 03, 2016     Accepted: June 09, 2016     Epub: July 20, 2016     Published: July 20, 2018


Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) and generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI) are heritable disorders manifesting with ectopic tissue mineralization. Most cases of PXE and some cases of GACI are caused by mutations in the ABCC6 gene, resulting in reduced plasma pyrophosphate (PPi) levels. There is no effective treatment for these disorders. It has been suggested that administration of bisphosphonates, stable and non-hydrolyzable PPi analogs, could counteract ectopic mineralization in these disorders. In this study we tested the potential efficacy of etidronate, a first generation bisphosphonate, on ectopic mineralization in the muzzle skin of Abcc6-/- mice, a model of PXE. The Abcc6-/- mice received subcutaneous injections of etidronate, 0.283 and 3.40 mg/kg per injection (0.01× and 0.12×), twice a week, in both prevention and reversal studies. Ectopic mineralization in the dermal sheath of vibrissae in muzzle skin was determined by histopathologic analysis and by direct chemical assay for calcium content. Subcutaneous injection of etidronate prevented ectopic mineralization but did not reverse existing mineralization. The effect of etidronate was accompanied by alterations in the trabecular bone microarchitecture, determined by micro-computed tomography. The results suggest that etidronate may offer a potential treatment modality for PXE and GACI caused by ABCC6 mutations. Etidronate therapy should be initiated in PXE patients as soon as the diagnosis is made, with careful monitoring of potential side effects.

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