Dietary phosphate increases heart disease risk

heart 1A new study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), revealed that high phosphate levels can cause a stress signal inside the cells that line blood vessels of the heart. Inorganic phosphate occurs naturally in every diet.

Patients afflicted with chronic disease (CKD) lose the ability to excrete excess phosphate in their urine. As a result they are exposed to phosphate accumulation in their blood and cells also referred to as hyperphosphatemia.This condition is linked to an increased of cardiovascular disease in CKD patients.

The research study consisted of examining the impact of phosphate accumulation on the cells that form the lining of blood vessels. The experiments revealed a metabolic pathway by which excess inorganic phosphate can cause a stress signal inside these cells. This type of stress can cause fragments known as microparticles to break off from the cells and can promote the formation of blood clots. “This is important because blocking of blood vessels by blood clots, a process known as thrombosis, is a common cause of injury and death, occurring in a wide range of including CKD,” said Dr Bevington, the lead study author.

The researchers highlight that the study does not only apply to CKD patients but may also impact on healthy individuals with normally functioning kidneys who may experience some elevation of blood phosphate levels. Metabolic disturbances may occur as a result or even raise phosphate levels inside the cells.


Hyperphosphatemia, Phosphoprotein Phosphatases, and Microparticle Release in Vascular Endothelial Cells, Nima Abbasian, James O. Burton, Karl E. Herbert, Barbara-Emily Tregunna, Jeremy R. Brown, Maryam Ghaderi-Najafabadi, Nigel J. Brunskill, Alison H. Goodall and Alan Bevington, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2014070642, published 5 March 2015.

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