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Calcif Tissue Int. 1996 Nov;59(5):352-6.

Vitamin K status and bone mass in women with and without aortic atherosclerosis: a population-based study.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), University of Limburg, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Gammacarboxyglutamate (Gla) is an uncommon amino acid formed by vitamin K action. Increasing evidence indicates that Gla-proteins are involved in the regulation of calcification processes in both bone tissue and atherosclerotic vessel wall. In a population-based study we have previously shown that in a group of 113 postmenopausal women the presence of abdominal aortic calcifications is associated with a reduced vitamin K status. In the present study we investigated whether this reduced vitamin K status was also associated with differences in bone mass or circulating calciotropic hormone levels. Serum immunoreactive osteocalcin with low affinity for hydroxyapatite (irOCfree) was used as a marker for vitamin K status. After correction for age it was found that women with atherosclerotic calcifications had a 7% lower bone mass as measured by metacarpal radiogrammetry (mean difference: 3.2 mm2, 95% CI: -0. 2-6.5, P = 0.06). No differences between both groups of women were observed for serum intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. In the atherosclerotic women (n = 34), markers for vitamin K status were inversely associated with bone mass (r = -0.47, P = 0.013), whereas no such association was found in the nonatherosclerotic women (n = 79). It is concluded that the atherosclerotic women in this study may be at higher risk for osteoporotic fractures as evidenced by their lower bone mass and higher serum irOCfree levels. The finding that in atherosclerotic women vitamin K status is associated with bone mass supports our hypothesis that vitamin K status affects the mineralization processes in both bone and in atherosclerotic plaques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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