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International Journal of Nephrology
Volume 2011, Article ID 269060, 5 pages
Review Article

The Effect of Paricalcitol on Vascular Calcification and Cardiovascular Disease in Uremia: Beyond PTH Control

Renal Division, DMCO, San Paolo Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Milan, Via A. di Rudinì 8; 20142, Milan, Italy

Received 30 October 2010; Accepted 18 January 2011

Academic Editor: Biagio Raffaele Di Iorio

Copyright © 2011 Mario Cozzolino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Secondary hyperparathyroidism is a systemic disorder that associates with bone and cardiovascular disease, including arterial calcification. Treatment with calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D, reduces parathyroid hormone levels, but may result in elevations in serum calcium and phosphorus, increasing the risk of vascular calcification in dialysis patients. New vitamin D receptor activators (VDRAs) have been developed and investigated with the rationale to treat high serum PTH levels, with a reduced risk of hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia. Paricalcitol is a selective VDRA that suppresses PTH secretion with minimal increases on serum calcium and phosphate. Moreover, paricalcitol prevents vascular calcification in experimental models of renal failure, compared with calcitriol.