Vascular micro-calcification in the crosshairs of researchers
According to WHO, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year, and coronary artery calcification (CAC) score is an independent cardiovascular risk factor. A review paper published recently in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology demonstrates a need for a more extensive research in the concept of vitamin K supplementation (i.e. loading the bullet) and recommends monitoring the effects on vascular calcification using sodium fluoride positron emission tomography (PET) (i.e. locking onto the target).
After conducting a structured PubMed search, the authors identified 18F-sodium fluoride (18F-NaF) PET as the most suitable technique for detecting micro-calcification. The analysis of pros and cons of available treatments, helped the researchers to arrive at a conclusion that, “Vitamin K emerges as a suitable, cost-effective, bullet that can and should be loaded after targeting microcalcification with 18F-NaF PET.”
“Recent evidence shows that although vascular calcification was considered a passive mechanism, it is actively regulated with a delicate balance between calcification promoting and inhibiting factors, and vitamin K plays an important role in this process, therefore its supplementation should be considered as a possible safe and worthwhile option to inhibit vascular (micro)-calcification,” says Dr. Katarzyna Maresz, president of the International Science and Health Foundation. “In this review, the authors discussed the most promising methods of vascular imaging and key emerging concepts in the treatment of vascular calcification. With progress in ongoing clinical trials (i.e. VitaK-CAC NCT01002157, iPACK-HD NCT01528800, VitaVasK NCT01742273 and BASIK2 NCT02917525), new supporting information will come to light on how beneficial vitamin K supplementation (i.e. vitamin K2 as MK-7) is in cardiovascular disease. Additional scientific efforts are still required until 18F-NaF can enter routine clinical practice as a tracer for vascular micro-calcification, but available studies reveal a promising future,” she adds.
Florea A, Morgenroth A, Bucerius J, Schurgers LJ, Mottaghy FM. Locking and loading the bullet against micro-calcification [published online ahead of print, 2020 Mar 2]. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2020;2047487320911138. doi:10.1177/2047487320911138