In chronic kidney disease, vitamin K–dependent proteins, including the calcification inhibitor matrix Gla protein, are largely uncarboxylated indicating that functional vitamin K deficiency may contribute to uremic vascular calcification. Since the effects of uremia on the vitamin K cycle are unknown, we investigated the influence of uremia and vitamin K supplementation on the activity of the vitamin K cycle and extraosseous calcification. Uremia was induced in rats by an adenine-supplemented diet and vitamin K1 or K2 was administered over 4 and 7 weeks. After 4 weeks of adenine diet, the activity of the vitamin K cycle enzyme γ-carboxylase but not the activities of DT-diaphorase or vitamin K epoxide reductase were reduced. Serum levels of undercarboxylated matrix Gla protein increased, indicating functional vitamin K deficiency. There was no light microscopy–detectable calcification at this stage but chemically determined aortic and renal calcium content was increased. Vitamin K treatment reduced aortic and renal calcium content after 4 weeks. Seven weeks of uremia induced overt calcification in the aorta, heart, and kidneys; however, addition of vitamin K restored intrarenal γ-carboxylase activity and overstimulated it in the liver along with reducing heart and kidney calcification. Thus, uremic vitamin K deficiency may partially result from a reduction of the γ-carboxylase activity which possibly contributes to calcification. Pharmacological vitamin K supplementation restored the vitamin K cycle and slowed development of soft tissue calcification in experimental uremia.
Via Jonathan Middleton