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Vitamin K status in chronic kidney disease: a report of a study and a mini-review


Hepatic vitamin K-dependent proteins (e.g., Factors II, VII, IX and X) form part of the clotting cascade. Factor II (FII)/Prothrombin incorporates 10 Glu residues on the N-terminal region that are γ-carboxylated to Gla residues by the action of γ-glutamyl carboxylase to confer biological activity. Vitamin K is also required for the normal function of Matrix Gla Protein (MGP)—one of several non-clotting-related extra-hepatic vitamin K-dependent proteins. MGP is known to have protective action against vascular calcification—indeed it is a powerful tissue-bound inhibitory mechanism and can be found in blood vessel walls. The mature protein is also dependent on activation by γ-glutamyl carboxylase enzyme to convert Glu residues in its amino acid sequence to Gla. This reaction can only take place when the enzyme is activated in the presence of vitamin K. It is of great potential interest to investigate whether subtle deficiencies of vitamin K may, through its effect on the action of MGP, be a contributing factor to vascular calcification in CKD patients, in whom CV disease is greatly accelerated and in whom vascular calcification is not only common, but progresses aggressively, and is something for which as yet there is no clinically applicable remedy.

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Drs Padmini Manghat and Geeta Hampson for the biobanked blood samples. Ms Maximilian Tjockis Nerdlander for inestimable input.

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The authors have no relevant disclosures to make in respect of this work.

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Correspondence to David Goldsmith.

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Voong, K., Harrington, D. & Goldsmith, D. Vitamin K status in chronic kidney disease: a report of a study and a mini-review. Int Urol Nephrol 45, 1339–1344 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11255-012-0367-x

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  • Vitamin K
  • Calcification
  • Chronic kidney disease