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Kidney Int. 2007 Oct;72(8):977-84. Epub 2007 Aug 1.

Paricalcitol aggravates perivascular fibrosis in rats with renal insufficiency and low calcitriol.

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Medical School, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.


Cardiovascular complications are a major problem in chronic renal failure. We examined the effects of plasma calcium, phosphate, parathyroid hormone (PTH), and calcitriol on cardiac morphology in 5/6 nephrectomized rats. Fifteen weeks after nephrectomy rats were given a control diet, high-calcium or -phosphorus diet, or given paricalcitol treatment for 12 weeks. Sham-operated rats were on a control diet. Blood pressure, plasma phosphate, and PTH were increased, while the creatinine clearance was reduced in remnant kidney rats. Phosphate and PTH were further elevated by the high-phosphate diet but suppressed by the high-calcium diet, while paricalcitol reduced PTH without influencing phosphate or calcium. The high-calcium diet increased, while the high-phosphate diet reduced plasma calcium. Plasma calcitriol was significantly reduced in other remnant kidney groups, but further decreased after paricalcitol. Cardiac perivascular fibrosis and connective tissue growth factor were significantly increased in the remnant kidney groups, and further increased in paricalcitol-treated rats. Hence, regardless of the calcium, phosphate, or PTH levels, cardiac perivascular fibrosis and connective tissue growth factor increase in rats with renal insufficiency in association with low calcitriol. Possible explanations are that aggravated perivascular fibrosis after paricalcitol in renal insufficiency may be due to further suppression of calcitriol, or to a direct effect of the vitamin D analog.

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