Korean Circ J.  2021 Feb;51(2):114-125. 10.4070/kcj.2020.0517.

Role of Inflammation in Arterial Calcification

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Institute for Bio-Medical Convergence, College of Medicine, Catholic Kwandong University, Gangneung, Korea
  • 3Division of Cardiology, Severance Cardiovascular Hospital and Integrative Research Center for Cerebrovascular and Cardiovascular Diseases, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Arterial calcification, characterized by calcium phosphate deposition in the arteries, can be divided into intimal calcification and medial calcification. The former is the predominant form of calcification in coronary artery plaques; the latter mostly affects peripheral arteries and aortas. Both forms of arterial calcification have strong correlations with adverse cardiovascular events. Intimal microcalcification is associated with increased risk of plaque disruption while the degree of burden of coronary calcification, measured by coronary calcium score, is a marker of overall plaque burden. Continuous research on vascular calcification has been performed during the past few decades, and several cellular and molecular mechanisms and therapeutic targets were identified. However, despite clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of drug therapies to treat vascular calcification, none have been shown to have efficacy until the present. Therefore, more extensive research is necessary to develop appropriate therapeutic strategies based on a thorough understanding of vascular calcification. In this review, we mainly focus on intimal calcification, namely the pathobiology of arterial calcification, and its clinical implications.


Arterial calcification; Pathobiology; Therapeutic strategy; Clinical implication
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