Magnesium prevents vascular calcification in Klotho deficiency

Kidney Int. 2020 Mar;97(3):487-501. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2019.09.034. Epub 2019 Nov 2.


Klotho knock-out mice are an important model for vascular calcification, which is associated with chronic kidney disease. In chronic kidney disease, serum magnesium inversely correlates with vascular calcification. Here we determine the effects of serum magnesium on aortic calcification in Klotho knock-out mice treated with a minimal or a high magnesium diet from birth. After eight weeks, serum biochemistry and aorta and bone tissues were studied. Protective effects of magnesium were characterized by RNA-sequencing of the aorta and micro-CT analysis was performed to study bone integrity. A high magnesium diet prevented vascular calcification and aortic gene expression of Runx2 and matrix Gla protein found in such mice on the minimal magnesium diet. Differential expression of inflammation and extracellular matrix remodeling genes accompanied the beneficial effects of magnesium on calcification. High dietary magnesium did not affect serum parathyroid hormone, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 or calcium. High magnesium intake prevented vascular calcification despite increased fibroblast growth factor-23 and phosphate concentration in the knock-out mice. Compared to mice on the minimal magnesium diet, the high magnesium diet reduced femoral bone mineral density by 20% and caused excessive osteoid formation indicating osteomalacia. Osteoclast activity was unaffected by the high magnesium diet. In Saos-2 osteoblasts, magnesium supplementation reduced mineralization independent of osteoblast function. Thus, high dietary magnesium prevents calcification in Klotho knock-out mice. These effects are potentially mediated by reduction of inflammatory and extracellular matrix remodeling pathways within the aorta. Hence magnesium treatment may be promising to prevent vascular calcification, but the risk for osteomalacia should be considered.

Keywords: Klotho; chronic kidney disease; magnesium; mineralization; osteomalacia; vascular calcification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glucuronidase / deficiency*
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Klotho Proteins
  • Magnesium / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Phosphates
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic*
  • Vascular Calcification* / genetics
  • Vascular Calcification* / prevention & control


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Phosphates
  • Glucuronidase
  • Klotho Proteins
  • Magnesium