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G Ital Nefrol. 2006 Jan-Feb;23 Suppl 34:S21-5.

[Can cardiovascular calcifications be prevented in chronic kidney disease?].

[Article in Italian]

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Nefrologia ed Ipertensione, Ospedale Israelitico, Rome.


Chronic kidney disease, with special regard to hemodialysis patients, develop frequent and widespread cardiac and vascular calcifications. In the heart calcifications are mainly located in the coronary arteries and in the valvular structures. There is a strict relation between cardiovascular mortality in CKD and the extent of cardiac and vascular calcifications. Therefore it is important to evaluate the causes of extraskeletal calcifications for the evaluation of the possibility of prevention. The importance of hyperphosphatemia, of hypercalcemia and of the increased CAxP product as a cause of cardiac calcification has been clearly underlined. However the mechanism of calcification, initially considered a physico-chemical precipitation, has been investigated with the conclusion that the process is mediated by cellular differentiation and production of factors favoring mineralization in the extracellular milieu. Increased serum phosphate levels are able to induce a transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells into osteoblast-like cells, able to produce factors known to be pro-mineralizing agents in the bone tissue. Further studies have revealed the importance of a number of inhibitors of calcification of cardiovascular structures, like Fetuin-A, MGP, Osteopontin, Osteoprotegerin. Therefore at present the calcification process of vascular tissue is considered to be linked to a balance between inducers and inhibitors of calcium-phosphate deposits. Prevention of cardiac calcifications is at present mainly based of optimal control of serum phosphate and reduction of calcium load through the use of non-calcium containing phosphate binders. Treatment with statins for prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis is also an important means of decreasing the size and number of atherosclerotic plaques, where a portion of the calcification process develops.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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