Artery Risks Posed By Inactive Matrix GLA-protein (MGP) Highlight Value of Vitamin K2
Matrix GLA-protein (MGP) inhibits vascular calcification, and is dependent on vitamin K for its activity. Two recent studies suggest that high inactive levels of MGP are linked to an increased risk of arterial calcification and stiffness.
Participants in the first study included 66 people with type-2 diabetes, a mean age of 62, and a history of hypertension. The researchers used high-fidelity arterial tonometry to measure carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity. They also measured levels of MGP.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers determined that circulating levels of inactive MGP were associated with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity in people with type 2 diabetes. This suggests that deficient vitamin-K dependent activation of MGP may lead to artery stiffening.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It was published on December 7, 2016, in the American Journal of Hypertension.
Participants in the second study included 83 people with kidney disease and a mean age of 62.9. The researchers found that levels of inactive MGP were highly correlated with vascular calcification. No association was found between levels of inactive MGP and vascular stiffness.
Researchers from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 13, 2016, in Nephron.
MGP plays a pivotal role in vascular health, as there does not appear to be an effective alternative for calcification inhibition. Previous studies have found that the activation of MGP can be increased through supplementation with vitamin K. An optimal vitamin K intake is therefore important to maintain the risk and rate of calcification as low as possible.