Inhibition of Aortic Calcification by means of Pyrophosphate and Polyphosphates


SOME years ago we showed that inorganic pyrophosphate and other longer-chain condensed phosphates could inhibit calcium phosphate precipitation in vitro at concentrations as low as 10−6 M (ref. 1). Later we found that pyrophosphate is a normal constituent of both urine2 and plasma3, and we suggested that it might therefore be important in vivo in preventing collagen and other nucleating substances from calcifying3,4 ; calcification would then proceed only after the inhibitor had been destroyed by pyrophosphatase, an enzyme present in high concentrations at mineralizing sites5–7. Indirect support for the inhibitory role of pyrorphosphate in vivo has emerged from studies on urolithiasis. Patients with renal stones excrete less pyrophosphate than normal3,8 and the excretion of pyrophosphate can be raised by feeding orthophosphate8,9, a procedure claimed to prevent stone formation10.

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FLEISCH, H., SCHIBLER, D., MAERKI, J. et al. Inhibition of Aortic Calcification by means of Pyrophosphate and Polyphosphates. Nature 207, 1300–1301 (1965).

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