Vascular calcification relationship to vascular biomarkers and bone metabolism in advanced chronic kidney disease

Bone. 2021 Feb:143:115699. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2020.115699. Epub 2020 Oct 20.


Background: Vascular calcification (VC) and renal osteodystrophy are important complications of advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD). High resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HRpQCT) is able to assess bone microstructure in renal osteodystrophy and lower leg arterial calcification (LLAC) is usually seen as an incidental finding. LLAC can be a useful quantitative assessment of VC in CKD but the relationship between LLAC and vascular biomarkers and bone is unknown. We aimed to assess the relationship between LLAC and biomarkers, bone turnover and microstructure.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, fasting blood samples were taken from 69 CKD stages 4-5D patients and 68 healthy controls. HRpQCT of distal tibia and radius were performed. 43 CKD patients had trans-iliac bone biopsy after tetracycline labelling.

Results: LLAC was more severe in CKD than controls (median [IQR] 1.043 [0.05-16.52] vs 0 [0-0.55] mgHA, p < 0.001). CKD patients with diabetes (28%) had significantly higher LLAC compared to non-diabetic CKD (median [IQR] 24.07 [3.42-61.30] vs 0.23 [0-3.78] mgHA, p < 0.001). LLAC mass in CKD correlated with serum phosphate (rho = 0.29, p < 0.05), calcium x phosphate product (rho = 0.31, p < 0.05), intact parathyroid hormone (rho = 0.38, p < 0.01), intact fibroblast growth factor-23 (iFGF23) (rho = 0.40, p = 0.001), total alkaline phosphatase (rho = 0.41, p < 0.001), bone alkaline phosphatase (rho = 0.29, p < 0.05), osteocalcin (rho = 0.32, p < 0.05), osteoprotegerin (rho = 0.40, p = 0.001) and dephosphorylated-uncarboxylated matrix Gla protein (rho = 0.31, p < 0.05). LLAC in CKD also correlated with worse distal tibia cortical bone mineral density, thickness and porosity. No association was found between LLAC and bone turnover, mineralization or volume on biopsy in CKD. In multivariate analysis, only age, diabetes, iPTH and iFGF23 were independently associated with LLAC in CKD.

Conclusions: High levels of PTH and FGF23, along with older age and the presence of diabetes may all play independent roles in the development of LLAC in advanced CKD.

Keywords: Arterial calcification; Diabetes mellitus; Dialysis; FGF23; Renal osteodystrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Density
  • Chronic Kidney Disease-Mineral and Bone Disorder* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Humans
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic*
  • Vascular Calcification* / diagnostic imaging


  • Biomarkers
  • FGF23 protein, human
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23