In chronic kidney disease, hyperphosphatemia has been associated to vascular calcifications. Moreover, the rate and progression of vascular calcification have been related with the reduction of bone mass and osteoporotic fractures, hereby suggesting a strong link between vascular calcification and bone loss. Our aim was to prospectively study the effects of high phosphorus diet on bone mass, vascular calcification and gene expression profile of the arterial wall. A rat model of 7/8 nephrectomy fed with normal (0.6%) and moderately high (0.9%) phosphorus diet was used. Biochemical parameters, bone mineral density and vascular calcifications were assessed. A microarray analysis of the aortic tissue was also performed to investigate the gene expression profile. After 20 weeks, the rats fed with a high phosphorus diet showed a significant increase in serum phosphorus, PTH, and creatinine, together with aortic calcification and a decrease in bone mass. The histological analysis of the vascular calcifications showed areas with calcified tissue and the gene expression profile of this calcified tissue showed repression of muscle-related genes and overexpression of bone-related genes, among them, the secreted frizzled related proteins, well-known inhibitors of the Wnt pathway, involved in bone formation. The study demonstrated prospectively the inverse and direct relationship between vascular calcification and bone mass. In addition, the microarrays findings provide new information on the molecular mechanisms that may link this relationship.
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