Vascular calcification. Vascular calcification is an active process regulated by factors known to be involved in the process of osteogenesis. Vascular smooth muscle cells are able to differentiate towards osteoblast-like cells, promoted by a variety of stimuli, including BMP, RANKL, oxidative stress, inflammation and estrogen deficiency. These osteoblastic cells produce osteocalcin and ALP, important factors in mineralisation. # Excessive vitamin D promotes mineralisation. * It is not clear whether OPN promotes or inhibits calcification in the arterial wall, in bone mineralisation it is a known mineralisation inhibitor. Abbreviations: ALP, alkaline phosphatase; BMP, bone morphogenetic protein; Cbfa1, core binding factor-α1; MGP, matrix GLA protein; Msx2, msh homeobox 2; OPG, osteoprotegerin; OPN, osteopontin; ox-LDL, oxidized low density lipoprotein; RANKL, receptor activator of nuclear factor-B ligand; VSMC, vascular smooth muscle cell; Wnt, combination of wingless and Int.
den Uyl et al. Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011 13:R5 doi:10.1186/ar3224