Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a heritable disorder characterized by ectopic calcification of connective tissue in skin, Bruch's membrane of the eye, and walls of blood vessels. PXE is caused by mutations in the ABCC6 gene, but the exact etiology is still unknown. While observations on patients suggest that high calcium intake worsens the clinical symptoms, the patient organization PXE International has published the dietary advice to increase calcium intake in combination with increased magnesium intake. To obtain more data on this controversial issue, we examined the effect of dietary calcium and magnesium in the Abcc6-/- mouse, a PXE mouse model which mimics the clinical features of PXE. Abcc6-/- mice were placed on specific diets for 3, 7, and 12 months. Disease severity was measured by quantifying calcification of blood vessels in the kidney. Raising the calcium content in the diet from 0.5% to 2% did not change disease severity. In contrast, simultaneous increase of both calcium (from 0.5% to 2.0%) and magnesium (from 0.05% to 0.2%) slowed down the calcification significantly. Our present findings that increase in dietary magnesium reduces vascular calcification in a mouse model for PXE should stimulate further studies to establish a dietary intervention for PXE.

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Journal of Molecular Medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Gorgels, T., Waarsing, J., de Wolf, A., ten Brink, J., Loves, W., & Bergen, A. (2010). Dietary magnesium, not calcium, prevents vascular calcification in a mouse model for pseudoxanthoma elasticum. Journal of Molecular Medicine, 88(5), 467–475. doi:10.1007/s00109-010-0596-3