Skip to main content


Log in

Role of vitamin K and vitamin K-dependent proteins in vascular calcification

  • Published:
Zeitschrift für Kardiologie Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Objectives. To provide a rational basis for recommended daily allowances (RDA) of dietary phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinone (vitamin K2) intake that adequately supply extrahepatic (notably vascular) tissue requirements. Background. Vitamin K has a key function in the synthesis of at least two proteins involved in calcium and bone metabolism, namely osteocalcin and matrix Gla-protein (MGP). MGP was shown to be a strong inhibitor of vascular calcification. Present RDA values for vitamin K are based on the hepatic phylloquinone requirement for coagulation factor synthesis. Accumulating data suggest that extrahepatic tissues such as bone and vessel wall require higher dietary intakes and have a preference for menaquinone rather than for phyloquinone. Methods. Tissue-specific vitamin K consumption under controlled intake was determined in warfarin-treated rats using the vitamin K-quinone/epoxide ratio as a measure for vitamin K consumption. Immunohistochemical analysis of human vascular material was performed using a monoclonal antibody against MGP. The same antibody was used for quantification of MGP levels in serum. Results. At least some extrahepatic tissues including the arterial vessel wall have a high preference for accumulating and using meaquinone rather than phylloquinone. Both intima and media sclerosis are associated with high tissue concentrations of MGP, with the most prominent accumulation at the interface between vascular tissue and calcified material. This was consistent with increased concentrations of circulating MGP in subjects with atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus. Conclusions. This is the first report demonstrating the association between MGP and vascular calcification. The hypothesis is put forward that undercarboxylation of MGP is a risk factor for vascular calcification and that the present RDA values are too low to ensure full carboxylation of MGP.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Schurgers, L., Dissel, P., Spronk, H. et al. Role of vitamin K and vitamin K-dependent proteins in vascular calcification. Z Kardiol 90 (Suppl 3), 57–63 (2001).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: