What causes calcinosis in CREST syndrome?

Updated: Oct 05, 2020
  • Author: Jeanie C Yoon, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Ultrastructural study of calcifications from patients with CREST syndrome demonstrates calcium apatite crystals. Serum calcium, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase levels typically are normal; therefore, the calcifications are considered dystrophic.

Elevated levels of gamma-carboxyglutamic acid (Gla), a calcium-binding amino acid found in vitamin K–dependent clotting factors, are present in the urine and the involved tissues of patients with calcinosis. Gla and other calcium-binding proteins may be deposited abnormally in soft tissues during clotting. The occurrence of calcinosis at sites of repeated trauma appears to support this idea.


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