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Circ Res. 2005 Apr 15;96(7):717-22.

Regulation of vascular calcification: roles of phosphate and osteopontin.

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Bioengineering Department, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash 98195, USA.


Vascular calcification is prevalent in aging as well as a number of pathological conditions, and it is now recognized as a strong predictor of cardiovascular events in the general population as well as diabetic and end-stage renal disease patients. Vascular calcification is a highly regulated process involving inductive and inhibitory mechanisms. This article focuses on two molecules, phosphate and osteopontin, that have been implicated in the induction or inhibition of vascular calcification, respectively. Elevated phosphate is of interest because hyperphosphatemia is recognized as a major nonconventional risk factor for cardiovascular disease mortality in end-stage renal disease patients. Studies to date suggest that elevated phosphate stimulates smooth muscle cell phenotypic transition and mineralization via the activity of a sodium-dependent phosphate cotransporter. Osteopontin, however, appears to block vascular calcification most likely by preventing calcium phosphate crystal growth and inducing cellular mineral resorption.

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