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Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 10;8(1):15088. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-33257-6.

Inactive matrix Gla protein is a novel circulating biomarker predicting retinal arteriolar narrowing in humans.

Author information

1
Studies Coordinating Centre, Research Unit Hypertension and Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
2
Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
3
Division of Cardiology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
4
Research Unit Organ Systems, Department of Development and Regeneration, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
5
Department of Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care and Neonatology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
6
Department of Pharmacology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
7
Centre for Molecular and Vascular Biology, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
8
R&D Group VitaK, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
9
Studies Coordinating Centre, Research Unit Hypertension and Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. jan.staessen@med.kuleuven.be.
10
Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. jan.staessen@med.kuleuven.be.

Abstract

Active matrix Gla protein (MGP), a potent inhibitor of calcification in large arteries, protects against macrovascular complications. Recent studies suggested that active MGP helps maintaining the integrity of the renal and myocardial microcirculation, but its role in preserving the retinal microcirculation remains unknown. In 935 randomly recruited Flemish participants (mean age, 40.9 years; 50.3% women), we measured plasma desphospho-uncarboxylated MGP (dp-ucMGP), a marker of poor vitamin K status using an ELISA-based assay at baseline (1996-2010) and retinal microvascular diameters using IVAN software (Vasculomatic ala Nicola, version 1.1) including the central retinal arteriolar (CRAE) and venular (CRVE) equivalent and the arteriole-to-venule ratio (AVR) at follow-up (2008-2015). CRAE (P = 0.005) and AVR (P = 0.080) at follow-up decreased across tertiles of the dp-ucMGP distribution. In unadjusted models, for a doubling of dp-ucMGP at baseline, CRAE and AVR at follow-up respectively decreased by 1.40 µm (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32 to 2.48; P = 0.011) and 0.006 (CI, 0.001 to 0.011; P = 0.016). In multivariable-adjusted models accounting for sex, baseline characteristics and follow-up duration, these estimates were -1.03 µm (CI, -1.96 to -0.11; P = 0.028) and -0.007 (CI, -0.011 to -0.002; P = 0.007). Additional adjustment for changes from baseline to follow-up in major baseline characteristics yielded as estimates -0.91 µm (CI, -1.82 to -0.01; P = 0.048) and -0.006 (95% CI, -0.011 to -0.001; P = 0.014), respectively. Circulating inactive dp-ucMGP is a long-term predictor of smaller retinal arteriolar diameter in the general population. Our observations highlight the possibility that vitamin K supplementation might promote retinal health.

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