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J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Nov;21(11):1120-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2009.09.011. Epub 2010 Feb 9.

Vitamin K suppresses the lipopolysaccharide-induced expression of inflammatory cytokines in cultured macrophage-like cells via the inhibition of the activation of nuclear factor κB through the repression of IKKα/β phosphorylation.

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


Vitamin K is essential for blood coagulation and bone metabolism in mammals. This vitamin functions as a cofactor in the posttranslational synthesis of γ-carboxyglutamic acid (Gla) from glutamic acid residues. However, other functions of vitamin K have been reported recently. We previously found that vitamin K suppresses the inflammatory reaction induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in rats and human macrophage-like THP-1 cells. In this study, we further investigated the mechanism underlying the anti-inflammatory effect of vitamin K by using cultures of LPS-treated human- and mouse-derived cells. All the vitamin K analogues analyzed in our study exhibited varied levels of anti-inflammatory activity. The isoprenyl side chain structures, except geranylgeraniol, of these analogues did not show such activity; warfarin did not interfere with this activity. The results of our study suggest that the 2-methyl-1,4-naphtoquinone ring structure contributes to express the anti-inflammatory activity, which is independent of the Gla formation activity of vitamin K. Furthermore, menaquinone-4, a form of vitamin K₂, reduced the activation of nuclear factor κB (NFκB) and inhibited the phosphorylation of IKKα/β after treatment of cells with LPS. These results clearly show that the anti-inflammatory activity of vitamin K is mediated via the inactivation of the NFκB signaling pathway.

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