, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 177-183

Vascular calcification and its relation to bone calcification: Possible underlying mechanisms

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Summary

Significant scientific and clinical advances have been achieved in the study of vascular calcification during the last 10 years. Vascular calcification occurs frequently in atheromas and carries significant risk for future cardiac events due to stenotic and hemodynamic effects. The constituents of bone matrix and mineralization are present in atherosclerotic lesions, and a population of cells that secrete these products in vitro has been identified. The phenotype of these cells and their capacity to secrete osteoid are under the control of numerous inflammatory mediators and are thought to be regulated by similar molecular mechanisms as osteogenesis. Clinically, further studies are required to precisely define the prevalence of vascular calcification and its correlation with atherosclerotic disease, including risk factors for atherothrombotic disease such as smoking, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and sedentary lifestyle. Many other issues remain to be addressed including the following: the origin of subpopulations of progenitor cells within the arterial tree, other differentiation capacity of these progenitor cells, factors that control their migration, and the presence of a common molecular regulatory motif of bone development linking atherogenesis and osteoporosis.