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Endocr Res. 2001 Aug;27(3):337-43.

Circulating levels of vitamin K1, menaquinone-4, and menaquinone-7 in healthy elderly Japanese women and patients with vertebral fractures and patients with hip fractures.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Handa, Japan.


Recently, vitamin K has become increasingly of interest in the bone metabolism field because of its role as a cofactor in the carboxylation of osteocalcin. Although the role of osteocalcin is not clear, noncarboxylated osteocalcin is one risk factor in hip fractures. It has been reported that the circulating levels of vitamin K1 in osteoporotic patients were significantly lower than those of age-matched control subjects. In this study, we measured circulating levels of vitamin K1, menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7) in 23 normal healthy women aged 52-93 years (mean +/- SD: 80.1 +/- 3.5), 13 female patients with vertebral fractures aged 66-93 years (80.3 +/- 7.8) and 38 female patients with hip fractures aged 76-87 years (79.8 +/- 9.2), (all Japanese), in order to make sure whether these vitamin K levels were different in these three groups. Serum circulating levels of MK-4 was undetectable in most subjects (only one out of 74). Appreciable numbers from these three groups had undetectable levels of MK-7 (52% of the control group, 23% of the vertebral fracture group and 24% of the hip fracture group). Eight subjects from the normal control group (35%) and five patients from the vertebral group (38%) had undetectable levels of vitamin K1. We did not find a significant difference in the measurable levels of vitamin K1, MK-4 and MK-7 in patients with vertebral fractures or patients with hip fractures compared to age-matched normal controls. Undetectable levels of measured vitamin K1, MK-4 and MK-7 in most of subjects may significantly affect the results.

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