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Osteoporos Int. 2001;12(8):680-7.

1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 promotes vitamin K2 metabolism in human osteoblasts.

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Department of Nutrition, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Japan.


It has been reported that vitamin K2 (menaquinone-4) promoted 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3)-induced mineralization and enhanced gamma-carboxyglutamic acid (Gla)-containing osteocalcin accumulation in cultured human osteoblasts. In the present study, we investigated whether menaquinone-4 (MK-4) was metabolized in human osteoblasts to act as a cofactor of gamma-glutamyl carboxylase. Both conversions of MK-4 to MK-4 2,3-epoxide (epoxide) and epoxide to MK-4 were observed in cell extracts of cultured human osteoblasts. The effect of 1,25(OH)2D3 and warfarin on the vitamin K cycle to cultured osteoblasts were examined. With the addition of 1 nM 1,25(OH)2D3 or 25 microM warfarin in cultured osteoblasts, the yield of epoxide from MK-4 increased. However, the conversion of epoxide to MK-4 was strongly inhibited by the addition of warfarin (2.5-25 microM), whereas it was almost not inhibited by 1,25(OH)2D3 (0.1-10 nM). To clarify the mechanism for this phenomenon, a cell-free assay system was studied. Osteoblast microsomes were incubated with 10 microM epoxide in the presence or absence of warfarin and 1,25(OH)2D3. Epoxide reductase, one of the enzymes in the vitamin K cycle was strongly inhibited by warfarin (2.5-25 microM), whereas it was not affected by 1,25(OH)2D3 (0.1-1 nM). Moreover, there was no effect of pretreatment of osteoblasts with 1 nM 1,25(OH)2D3 on the activity of epoxide reductase. However, the activity of epoxidase, that is the gamma-glutamyl carboxylase was induced by the pretreatment of osteoblasts with 1 nM 1,25(OH)2D3. In the present study, it was demonstrated that the vitamin K metabolic cycle functions in human osteoblasts as well as in the liver, the post-translational mechanism, by which 1,25(OH)2D3 caused mineralization in cooperation with vitamin K2 was clarified.

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