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J Bone Miner Res. 2015 Jul;30(7):1245-54. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2463.

Osteoblast-Specific γ-Glutamyl Carboxylase-Deficient Mice Display Enhanced Bone Formation With Aberrant Mineralization.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Division of Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction, Research Center for Genomic Medicine, Saitama Medical University, Saitama, Japan.
Department of Developmental Biology of Hard Tissue, Graduate School of Dental Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.
Department of Anti-Aging Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Toranomon Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.


Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for blood coagulation. In addition, it has bone-protective effects. Vitamin K functions as a cofactor of γ-glutamyl carboxylase (GGCX), which activates its substrates by carboxylation. These substrates are found throughout the body and examples include hepatic blood coagulation factors. Furthermore, vitamin K functions as a ligand of the nuclear receptor known as steroid and xenobiotic receptor (SXR) and its murine ortholog, pregnane X receptor (PXR). We have previously reported on the bone-protective role of SXR/PXR signaling by demonstrating that systemic Pxr-knockout mice displayed osteopenia. Because systemic Ggcx-knockout mice die shortly after birth from severe hemorrhage, the GGCX-mediated effect of vitamin K on bone metabolism has been difficult to evaluate. In this work, we utilized Ggcx-floxed mice to generate osteoblast-specific GGCX-deficient (Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl)) mice by crossing them with Col1-Cre mice. The bone mineral density (BMD) of Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice was significantly higher than that of control Col1-Cre (Ggcx(+/+)) mice. Histomorphometrical analysis of trabecular bones in the proximal tibia showed increased osteoid volume and a higher rate of bone formation in Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice. Histomorphometrical analysis of cortical bones revealed a thicker cortical width and a higher rate of bone formation in Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice. Electron microscopic examination revealed disassembly of mineralized nodules and aberrant calcification of collagen fibers in Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice. The mechanical properties of bones from Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice tended to be stronger than those from control Ggcx(+/+) mice. These results suggest that GGCX in osteoblasts functions to prevent abnormal mineralization in bone formation, although this function may not be a prerequisite for the bone-protective effect of vitamin K.



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