Vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease: pathogenesis and clinical implications

Atsushi Shioi, Yoshiki Nishizawa
Journal of Renal Nutrition 2009, 19 (1): 78-81
Cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Nontraditional uremia-related risk factors as well as traditional risk factors may contribute to the unique features of cardiovascular disease in patients with CKD. Vascular calcification is a prominent feature of arterial disease in CKD and may have an impact on cardiovascular mortality through modulating both arteriosclerosis (arterial stiffening) and atherosclerosis. There are two pathophysiological processes involved in the development of vascular calcification: apoptosis and phenotypic transition to chondrocytes or osteoblasts (chodro/osteogenic differentiation). In CKD, abnormal mineral metabolism, predominantly hyperphosphatemia and hypercalcemia, facilitates progression of vascular calcification in association with functional disturbances of its inhibitory molecules (inhibitors of vascular calcification) such as pyrophosphate, matrix Gla protein, fetuin-A, and osteoprotegerin.

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