Effects of unfractionated heparin on renal osteodystrophy and vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease rats


Yan Meng, Hao Zhang, Yingbin Li, Qingnan Li, Li Zuo


Unfractionated heparin (UFH) is the most widely used anticoagulant in hemodialysis for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. Many studies have verified that UFH can induce bone loss in subjects with normal bone, but few have focused on its effect on renal osteodystrophy. We therefore investigated this issue in adenine-induced CKD rats. As CKD also impairs mineral metabolism systemically, we also studied the impacts of UFH on serum markers of CKD–mineral and bone disorder (CKD–MBD) and vascular calcification. We administered low and high doses of UFH (1 U/g and 2 U/g body weight, respectively) to CKD rats and compared them with CKD controls. At sacrifice, the serum markers of CKD–MBD did not significantly differ among the two UFH CKD groups and the CKD control group. The mean bone mineral densities (BMDs) of the total femur and a region of interest (ROI) constituted of trabecular and cortical bone were lower in the high-dose UFH (H-UFH) CKD group than in the CKD control group (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively). The BMD of the femoral ROI constituted of cortical bone did not differ between the H-UFH CKD group and the CKD control group. Histomorphometrical changes in the CKD rats indicated secondary hyperparathyroidism, and the femoral trabecular bone volume, but not cortical bone volume, significantly decreased with increasing UFH dose. The same decreasing trend was found in osteoblast parameters, and an increasing trend was found in osteoclast parameters; however, most differences were not significant. Moreover, no distinct statistical differences were found in the comparison of vascular calcium or phosphorus content among the CKD control group and the two UFH CKD groups. Therefore, we concluded that UFH could induce bone loss in CKD rats with secondary hyperparathyroidism, mainly by reducing the trabecular volume and had little effect on cortical bone volume. The underlying mechanism might involve inhibition of osteoblast activity and promotion of osteoclast activity by UFH. We did not find any effect of UFH on vascular calcification in CKD rats with secondary hyperparathyroidism.

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