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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Oct;1760(10):1482-8. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Vitamin K deficiency reduces testosterone production in the testis through down-regulation of the Cyp11a a cholesterol side chain cleavage enzyme in rats.

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Laboratory of Nutrition, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, Sendai 981-8555, Japan.


Vitamin K (K) is an essential factor for the posttranslational modification of blood coagulation factors as well as proteins in the bone matrix (Gla proteins). It is known that K is not only distributed in the liver and bones but also abundantly distributed in the brain, kidney, and gonadal tissues. However, the role of K in these tissues is not well clarified. In this study, we used DNA microarray and identified the genes whose expression was affected in the testis under the K-deficient (K-def) state. The expression of genes involved in the biosynthesis of cholesterol and steroid hormones was decreased in the K-def group. The mRNA levels of Cyp11a - a rate-limiting enzyme in testosterone synthesis - positively correlated with the menaquinone-4 (MK-4) concentration in the testis. Moreover, as compared to the control (Cont) and K-supplemented (K-sup) groups, the K-def group had decreased testosterone concentrations in the plasma and testis. These results suggested that K is involved in steroid production in the testis through the regulation of Cyp11a.

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