Supplementary Material for: Effect of Vitamin D Receptor Activator Therapy on Vitamin D Receptor and Osteocalcin Expression in Circulating Endothelial Progenitor Cells of Hemodialysis Patients

<b><i>Background:</i></b> The effects of vitamin D receptor (VDR) and osteocalcin (OC) expression as well as VDR agonist (VDRA) therapy on circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) has not been elucidated yet. <b><i>Methods:</i></b> We therefore analyzed EPCs in 30 healthy controls and 82 patients undergoing dialysis (no VDRA therapy: 28; oral calcitriol: 30, and intravenous paricalcitol, PCTA: 24). The percentage of EPCs (CD34+/CD133-/KDR+/CD45-) expressing VDR or OC, and VDR and OC expression defined by mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) were analyzed using flow cytometry. The in vitro effect of VDRAs was evaluated in EPCs isolated from each patient group. <b><i>Results:</i></b> The percentage of VDR+ EPCs correlated positively with VDRA therapy and 25(OH)D, and negatively with diabetes, C-reactive protein, hemoglobin and osteopontin. VDR-MFI correlated positively with VDRA therapy, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 25(OH)D, and negatively with diabetes and osteopontin. The percentage of OC+ EPCs correlated positively with the calcium score, PTH and phosphate, and negatively with 25(OH)D. OC-MFI correlated positively with calcium score, PTH, phosphate and hemoglobin, and negatively with albumin, 25(OH)D and osteopontin. Cell cultures from patients without VDRA therapy had the highest levels of calcium deposition and OC expression, which both significantly decreased following in vitro VDRA administration: in particular extracellular calcium deposition was only reduced by adding PCTA. <b><i>Conclusions:</i></b> Our data suggest that 25(OH)D serum levels and VDRA therapy influence VDR and OC expression on circulating EPCs. Since OC expression may contribute to vascular calcification, we hypothesize a putative protective role of VDRA therapy.