Matrix vesicles are extracellular organelles produced with distinctive phospholipid composition and enzyme activity. They are produced by cells which typically calcify their extracellular matrix and their characteristics are cell-maturation dependent. Regulation of matrix vesicle structure and function occurs at the genomic and non-genomic levels. By following alkaline phosphatase gene transcription, protein concentration, and enzyme specific activity, we have shown that steroid hormones and growth factors exhibit a regulatory influence over gene transcription, protein synthesis, and matrix vesicle activity. Matrix vesicles respond to peptide hormones, other matrix proteins, like alpha2-HS-glycoprotein, and autocoid mediators as well. Matrix vesicle metabolism can be directly affected by vitamin D metabolites, even in the absence of cells. The results indicate that 1,25-(OH)2D3 (1,25D) or 24,25-(OH)2D3 (24,25D) produced by the cells in culture can modulate matrix vesicle activity, and suggest that calcifying cells can modulate events in the matrix via autocrine/paracrine stimulation or inhibition of the matrix vesicles. 1,25D and 24,25D regulate matrix vesicle phospholipase A2 activity, fatty acid turnover, arachidonic acid release, PGE2 production and membrane fluidity, which act on the matrix vesicle to alter enzyme activity. Since vitamin D metabolite production is sensitive to both hormones and growth factors, there is potential for fine tuning matrix vesicle behavior.
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