Vitamin D and vascular calcification

Curr Opin Lipidol. 2007 Feb;18(1):41-6. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e328011c6fc.


Purpose of review: Vascular calcification is frequently found in patients with osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and chronic kidney disease, leading to high morbidity and mortality rates. The effects of vitamin D excess and deficiency on vascular calcification are reviewed in this article.

Recent findings: There is evidence from experimental studies that mediacalcinosis induced by vitamin D excess is an active and reversible process. Vitamin D excess, however, is rarely seen in the general human population. Experimental data also demonstrate that physiologic vitamin D actions include the inhibition of processes that are important for intimal and medial artery calcification such as pro-inflammatory cytokine release, adhesion molecule release, and proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells. In uremic rats, low levels of the vitamin D hormone calcitriol are associated with massive vascular and soft tissue calcifications. Whereas retrospective studies already indicate a beneficial effect of active vitamin D on mortality rates in chronic kidney disease, little is yet known about the effect of vitamin D deficiency on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the general population.

Summary: Available data indicate that vitamin D exerts a biphasic 'dose response' curve on vascular calcification with deleterious consequences not only of vitamin D excess but also of vitamin D deficiency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcinosis / physiopathology*
  • Calcinosis / prevention & control
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Vascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency*


  • Vitamin D