Background: Arterial calcification is a common feature of atherosclerosis, occurring in >90% of angiographically significant lesions. Recent evidence from this and other studies suggests that development of atherosclerotic calcification is similar to osteogenesis; thus, we undertook the current investigation on the potential role of osteoregulatory factors in arterial calcification.
Methods and results: We studied two human populations (173 subjects) at high and moderate risk for coronary heart disease and assessed them for associations between vascular calcification and serum levels of the osteoregulatory molecules osteocalcin, parathyroid hormone, and 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-vitamin D). Our results revealed that 1,25-vitamin D levels are inversely correlated with the extent of vascular calcification in both groups. No correlations were found between extent of calcification and levels of osteocalcin or parathyroid hormone.
Conclusions: These data suggest a possible role for vitamin D in the development of vascular calcification. Vitamin D is also known to be important in bone mineralization; thus, 1,25-vitamin D may be one factor to explain the long observed association between osteoporosis and vascular calcification.