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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2005 Aug;16(8):2495-500. Epub 2005 Jun 15.

Reduced plasma pyrophosphate levels in hemodialysis patients.

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Emory University, Renal Division, WMB 338, 1639 Pierce Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Pyrophosphate (PPi) is a known inhibitor of hydroxyapatite formation and has been shown to inhibit medial vascular calcification in vitamin D-toxic rats. It was demonstrated recently that endogenous production of PPi prevents calcification of rat aorta that are cultured in high concentrations of calcium and phosphate. For determining whether PPi metabolism is altered in hemodialysis patients, plasma levels and dialytic clearance of PPi were measured in stable hemodialysis patients. Predialysis plasma [PPi] was 2.26 +/- 0.19 microM in 38 clinically stable hemodialysis patients compared with 3.26 +/- 0.17 in 36 normal subjects (P < 0.01). Approximately 30% of plasma PPi was protein bound, and this was not altered in dialysis patients. There was a weak inverse correlation with age in normal individuals but not in dialysis patients. Plasma [PPi] in dialysis patients was correlated with plasma [PO4(3-)] (r = 0.56) but not with [Ca2+], parathyroid hormone, or the dose of dialysis, and levels did not vary between interdialytic periods of 2 and 3 d. Plasma [PPi] decreased 32 +/- 5% after standard hemodialysis in 17 patients. In vitro clearance of PPi by a 2.1-m2 cellulose acetate dialyzer was 36%, and the mean PPi removal in five patients was 43 +/- 5 micromol, consistent with a similar in vivo clearance. Cleared PPi was greater than the plasma pool but less than the estimated extracellular fluid pool. Erythrocyte PPi content decreased 24 +/- 4%, indicating that intracellular PPi is removed as well. It is concluded that plasma [PPi] is reduced in hemodialysis patients and that PPi is cleared by dialysis. Plasma levels in some patients were below those that have previously been shown to prevent calcification of vessels in culture, suggesting that altered PPi metabolism could contribute to vascular calcification in hemodialysis patients.

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