[Current concepts of vascular calcification]

Koichi Kozaki
Nihon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi. Japanese Journal of Geriatrics 2005, 42 (6): 659-61
Vascular calcification, such as coronary and aortic calcification, is a significant feature of vascular pathology. Two distinct forms of vascular calcification are well recognized. One is medial calcification, which occurs between the cell layers of smooth muscle cells, and is related to aging, diabetes and chronic renal failure. The other is atherosclerotic calcification, which occurs in the intima during the development of atheromatous disease. It has been shown that statins inhibit the progression of calcification in the aortic valve and the coronary artery. We have found that statins inhibit calcification of human aortic smooth muscle cells, which is induced by incubating the cells in high-phosphate medium. We also found that this is mediated by inhibiting cellular apoptosis, an essential mechanism for calcification, not by inhibiting inorganic phosphate (Pi) uptake by sodium-dependent phosphate cotransporter (NPC). Besides apoptosis and Pi uptake, such proteins as osteoprotegerin (OPG), matrix Gla protein (MGP), Klotho, fetuin-A, and apoE have been shown to negatively affect vascular calcification. Many previous reports suggest that vascular calcification appears to be regulated by promoting factors, such as Pi, apoptosis, modified LDL, advanced glycation end products, oxidative stress, vitaminD3, glucocorticoid, cbfa-1, osteopontin, and inhibitory factors, such as OPG, MGP, Klotho, fetuin-A, PTH/PTHrP, pyrophosphate, statins, and bisphosphonates. The precise mechanism of vascular calcification is of interest.

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