Calcification of arteries and cardiac valves is observed commonly in dialysis patients and represents a major determinant of the heightened cardiovascular risk observed during chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression. Recent advances from clinical and basic science studies suggest that vascular calcification should be considered a systemic disease in which pathologic processes occurring in the bone and kidney contribute to calcium deposition in the vasculature. Among the factors potentially involved in the vascular-bone axis dysregulation associated with CKD, there now is increasing interest in the role of the phosphaturic hormone fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23). Increased FGF-23 plasma levels are observed with a decrease in kidney function and predict the risk of future cardiovascular mortality. However, clinical data are still unclear about whether a direct pathogenetic effect of FGF-23 on vascular/kidney/bone health exists. In the last few years, a series of basic science studies, performed using engineered mice, have contributed important pathophysiologic information about FGF-23 activities. This review summarizes findings from these studies and discusses the potential role of FGF-23 during the pathologic interplay between kidney, vessels, and bone in CKD.
Copyright © 2011 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.