In chronic kidney disease (CKD), abnormalities in vitamin D metabolism contribute to the development of mineral and skeletal disorders, elevations in parathyroid hormone (PTH), hypertension, systemic inflammation, renal and cardiovascular damage. CKD induces a progressive loss of the capacity of the kidney not only to convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] to circulating calcitriol, the vitamin D hormone, but also to maintain serum 25(OH)D levels for non-renal calcitriol synthesis. The resulting calcitriol and 25(OH)D deficiency associates directly with accelerated disease progression and death. This chapter presents our understanding of the pathophysiology behind 25(OH)D and calcitriol deficiency in CKD, of the adequacy of current recommendations for vitamin D supplementation and PTH suppression, and of potential markers of renal and cardiovascular lesions unrelated to PTH suppression, a knowledge required for the design of trials to obtain evidence-based recommendations for vitamin D and calcitriol replacement that improve outcomes at all stages of CKD.
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