What Causes Abnormal Mineral Accumulation?



The arteries are integral to our ability to process the minerals we ingest and how our blood is effectively pumped. A study that was conducted at McGill University wanted to gather a more complete understanding of how the calcification of these arteries happens after consistent and tempered mineral accumulation, which results in kidney disease and diabetes.

Genetically-modified laboratory mice were tested to find out why a hardening of the arteries occurs on a broader spectrum. It was found that elastin, which is what allows the arteries to stretch and allows adequate blood flow to get to the heart, is hugely compromised by the building of this calcification.

The study also found that collagen, which is necessary for the bones and teeth, does not affect arterial mineralization. Team leader Marta Cerruti further explains: The first part that mineralizes in the arteries of our genetic model is the elastin part and not collagen. To me that was really surprising. The part that mineralizes in bone and teeth is collagen, which is also present in the arteries. You would think collagen must have really specific properties that aid that process, so why do the minerals instead get deposited in association with elastin in arteries?

Initiatives And Interventions

Cerruti hopes that these findings are beneficial enough to push forward initiatives that will block this type of accumulation of minerals in the arteries. Added information, and a way to test patients who may be more predisposed to this condition, can be incredibly helpful in broadening the standard of care. It is believed that one way this can happen is to intervene in these cases before too much damage has been done. Intervening when the calcium phosphate minerals begin the process of crystallizing is a good tactic.

There isn't a current structured course of action as far as treatment goes for this dangerous condition that can severely compromise the heart. There is a huge lack of understanding when it comes to the entire mineralization process that can occur by the arteries. What seems very imperative is that this process be halted as soon as possible because the heart getting properly pumped and circulated blood is one of the most crucial things the body needs.

Additional Questions

Of course, there needs to be much more research in order to make informed, complete decisions. The authors of the study believe that there is a direct correlation to the nucleation and the arterial mineralization. So an approach that would look into how much of these things have carried on in interplay with one another and an interdisciplinary approach would likely be the most successful. There is also additional questions regarding what actually causes this type of hardening to occur.

There are so many cardiovascular diseases that point directly to diet, lack of activity, and genes as the most impacting precursors for this type of condition. There is an inter-relational force that exists between them. Ultimately, while some things are completely outside of our control, there are ways that we can be proactive in managing our health and by extension our lives. We must pay attention to and alter the things we can control.

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