Effect of High-Calcium Diet on Coronary Artery Disease in Ossabaw Miniature Swine With Metabolic Syndrome

Alyssa K. Phillips-Eakley, Mikaela L. McKenney-Drake, Martin Bahls, Sean C. Newcomer, John S. Radcliffe, Meryl E. Wastney, William G. Van Alstine, George Jackson, Mouhamad Alloosh, Berdine R. Martin, Michael Sturek, Connie M. Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Calcium is a shortfall essential nutrient that has been a mainstay of osteoporosis management. Recent and limited findings have prompted concern about the contribution of calcium supplementation to cardiovascular risk. A proposed mechanism is through the acceleration of coronary artery calcification. Determining causality between calcium intake and coronary artery calcification has been hindered by a lack of sensitive methodology to monitor early vascular calcium accumulation. The primary study aim was to assess the impact of high calcium intake on coronary artery calcification using innovative calcium tracer kinetic modeling in Ossabaw swine with diet-induced metabolic syndrome. Secondary end points (in vitro wire myography, histopathology, intravascular ultrasound) assessed coronary disease.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Pigs (n=24; aged ≈15 months) were fed an atherogenic diet with adequate calcium (0.33% by weight) or high calcium (1.90% from calcium carbonate or dairy) for 6 months. Following 5 months of feeding, all pigs were dosed intravenously with (41)Ca, a rare isotope that can be measured in serum and tissues at a sensitivity of 10(-18) mol/L by accelerator mass spectrometry. Kinetic modeling evaluated early coronary artery calcification using (41)Ca values measured in serial blood samples (collected over 27 days) and coronary artery samples obtained at sacrifice. Serum disappearance of (41)Ca and total coronary artery (41)Ca accumulation did not differ among groups. Secondary end points demonstrated no treatment differences in coronary artery disease or function.

CONCLUSION: There was no detectable effect of high calcium diets (from dairy or calcium carbonate) on coronary artery calcium deposition in metabolic syndrome swine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e001620
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 13 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.


  • calcium
  • coronary disease
  • diet
  • isotopes
  • nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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