Vascular calcification is a significant contributor to the cardiovascular mortality observed in chronic kidney disease (CKD). This review discusses the animal models (5/6 nephrectomy, mouse electrocautery model and dietary adenine) that have been employed in the study of vascular calcification outcomes in CKD. Rodent models of CKD generate a range of severity in the vascular calcification phenotype. Major limitations of the 5/6th nephrectomy model include the requirement for surgery and the need to use either excessive dietary phosphorus or vitamin D. Major limitations of the mouse electrocautery model include the requirement for surgery, the mortality rate when very advanced CKD develops, and resistance to vascular calcification without the use of transgenic animals. This is balanced against the major advantage of the ability to study transgenic animals to further understand the mechanisms associated with either the acceleration or inhibition of calcification. Dietary adenine generates severe CKD and does not require surgery. The major disadvantage is the weight loss that ensues when rats receive a diet containing 0.75% adenine. In summary, animal models are useful to study CKD-associated vascular calcification and the results obtained in these pre-clinical animal studies appear to translate to the evidence, however limited, which exists in humans with CKD.
2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.