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J Nutr. 1996 Feb;126(2):537-43.

Phylloquinone and menaquinone-4 distribution in rats: synthesis rather than uptake determines menaquinone-4 organ concentrations.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


To clarify the origin of organ menaquinone-4 (MK-4), the distributions of phylloquinone and MK-4 were investigated in rats fed diets containing phylloquinone, MK-4 or menadione (1.1, 2.2 and 31 mumol/kg diet, respectively, 6 rats per group). Warfarin (2 x 1 mg/kg subcutaneously) was given (3 rats per group) to study the effect of vitamin K cycle blockage. In rats fed phylloquinone the vitamin accumulated mainly in liver and heart. Additionally, the diet resulted in significantly higher organ MK-4 concentrations compared with the vitamin K-deficient controls. The epoxide of MK-4 also was significantly higher in some organs. The MK-4 diet increased MK-4 concentration primarily in the heart, liver and lung. Rats fed menadione had significantly higher MK-4 and MK-4 epoxide concentrations in all organs examined. The greatest accumulations were in nonhepatic organs, particularly the pancreas, salivary gland and brain. Generally, liver and plasma had low MK-4 concentrations. Warfarin treatment lowered significantly the MK-4 concentrations, whereas MK-4 epoxide accumulated. The study shows the following: 1) dietary phylloquinone is accumulated mainly in the heart and liver, 2) the MK-4 accumulation in nonhepatic organs is due to synthesis rather than uptake and 3) MK-4 rather than phylloquinone may be the functional vitamin in nonhepatic organs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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