Vitamin D and vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease

Mariano Rodriguez, Julio Manuel Martinez-Moreno, M Encarnación Rodríguez-Ortiz, Juan R Muñoz-Castañeda, Yolanda Almaden
Kidney & Blood Pressure Research 2011, 34 (4): 261-8
Vascular calcification is common in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and contributes to the increased rate of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The mechanisms regulating vascular calcification are under investigation; it is accepted that vascular calcification is an active and complex process involving many factors that promote or inhibit calcification. Vascular smooth muscle cells undergo transformation into osteogenic cells. This transformation is being stimulated by high phosphate, and more recently the role of the calcium phosphate nanocrystals has gained attention. Experimental models of uremia and in vitro studies have shown that an excess of calcitriol accelerates vascular calcification. However, observational studies suggest that vitamin D provides a survival advantage for patients with CKD. Experimental work shows that for similar serum concentrations of calcium and phosphate paricalcitol produces less vascular calcification than calcitriol suggesting a differential effect at the cellular level. Important issues regarding the role of vitamin D compounds on vascular calcification will be commented in this review.

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