Vascular mineralization has recently emerged as a risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Previously regarded as a passive end-stage process, vascular mineralization is currently recognized as an actively regulated process with cellular and humoral contributions. The discovery that the vitamin K-dependent matrix Gla-protein (MGP) is a strong inhibitor of vascular calcification has propelled our mechanistic understanding of this process and opened novel avenues for diagnosis and treatment. This review focuses on molecular mechanisms of vascular mineralization involving MGP and discusses the potential for treatments and biomarkers to monitor patients at risk for vascular mineralization.
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