Nature of soft tissue calcification in uremia

S. R. Contiguglia, A. C. Alfrey, N. L. Miller, D. E. Runnells, R. Z. Le Geros

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131 Scopus citations


The chemical and crystalline composition of metastatic calcification was studied in 21 uremic patients. Nonvisceral calcification has a calcium/magnesium/phosphorus (Ca:Mg:P) molar ratio of 30/1/18 and an apatitic X ray diffraction pattern. The molar ratio of Ca/Mg/P in 33 tissue specimens (heart, lung and skeletal muscle) with calcification obtained from 19 uremic patients was 4.9/1/4.6, and X ray diffraction showed only an amorphous pattern. Following incineration at 500° C, the diffraction pattern of magnesium whitlockite (CaMg)3(PO4)2 was found. This study demonstrates two distinct forms of calcium phosphate deposits in uremic patients. Nonvisceral and arterial calcification are hydroxyapatite. Calcification in heart, lung and skeletal muscle is an amorphous or microcrystalline compound composed of Ca/Mg/P in a constant molar ratio and is somewhat like whitlockite. The different tissue response incited by these two compounds is probably related to the larger crystal size found in nonvisceral calcification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes


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