Chapter 18. Aspects of Pathological Calcifications

  1. Prof. Dr. Edmund Bäuerlein
  1. Inge Schmitz

Published Online: 20 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch62

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

How to Cite

Schmitz, I. (2007) Aspects of Pathological Calcifications, in Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation (ed E. Bäuerlein), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch62

Editor Information

  1. Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18 A, 82152 Planegg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 25 MAY 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527316410

Online ISBN: 9783527619443



  • heterotopic ossification;
  • pulmonary calcification;
  • metastatic calcification;
  • arteriosclerosis;
  • AV-shunt;
  • ossification of synthetic grafts


Unwanted, pathological calcifications can be categorized based on the initiating stimulus: trauma, tumor, disturbances of mineral metabolism, inflammation, or idiopathic (unknown) causes, and can be found in almost all tissues. For example, pulmonary calcifications are common asymptomatic findings, usually discovered on routine chest X-ray or at autopsy, and can occur in a wide variety of disorders, while vascular calcification (arteriosclerosis) is a common finding in elderly people, and causes heart disease and cerebral disorders. Several cellular components are involved in pathological calcifications, and there is some evidence suggesting pathological mineralizations and ossifications are regulated processes. In terms of structure and elemental analysis, there are no significant differences between pathological mineralization and bone formation. Calcifications may be present in biological tissue, as well as in synthetic graft material, for example in vascular prostheses.