Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatr Nephrol. 2013 Apr;28(4):583-93. doi: 10.1007/s00467-012-2347-x. Epub 2012 Nov 17.

Phosphate is a vascular toxin.

Author information

Renal Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Great Ormond Street, London, WC1N 3JH, UK.


Elevated phosphate (P) levels are seen in advanced renal failure and, together with dysregulated calcium, parathyroid hormone and vitamin D levels, contribute to the complex of chronic kidney disease-mineral and bone disease (CKD-MBD). Converging evidence from in vitro, clinical and epidemiological studies suggest that increased P is associated with vascular calcification and mortality. When vessels are exposed to high P conditions in vitro, they develop apoptosis, convert to bone-like cells and develop extensive calcification. Clinical studies in children on dialysis show that high P is associated with increased vessel wall thickness, arterial stiffness and coronary calcification. Epidemiological studies in adult dialysis patients demonstrate a significant and independent association between raised P and mortality. Importantly, raised P is associated with cardiovascular changes even in pre-dialysis CKD, and also in subjects with normal renal function but high P. All P binders can effectively reduce serum P, and this decrease is linked to improved survival. Raised serum P triggers the release of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23), which has the beneficial effect of increasing P excretion in early CKD, but is increased several 1,000-fold in dialysis, and may be an independent cardiovascular risk factor. Both FGF-23 and its co-receptor Klotho may have direct effects on the vasculature leading to calcification. Fascinatingly, disturbances in FGF-23-Klotho and raised P have also been associated with premature aging. These data suggest that high P levels have adverse vascular effects and that maintaining the serum P levels in the normal range reduces cardiovascular risk and mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center