Vitamin K promotes mineralization, osteoblast-to-osteocyte transition, and an anticatabolic phenotype by γ-carboxylation-dependent and -independent mechanisms

Gerald J. Atkins, Katie J. Welldon, Asiri R. Wijenayaka, Lynda F. Bonewald, David M. Findlay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

The vitamin K family members phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and the menaquinones (vitamin K2) are under study for their roles in bone metabolism and as potential therapeutic agents for skeletal diseases. We have investigated the effects of two naturally occurring homologs, phytonadione (vitamin K1) and menatetrenone (vitamin K2), and those of the synthetic vitamin K, menadione (vitamin K3), on human primary osteoblasts. All homologs promoted in vitro mineralization by these cells. Vitamin K1-induced mineralization was highly sensitive to warfarin, whereas that induced by vitamins K2 and K3 was less sensitive, implying that γ-carboxylation and other mechanisms, possibly genomic actions through activation of the steroid xenobiotic receptor, are involved in the effect. The positive effect on mineralization was associated with decreased matrix synthesis, evidenced by a decrease from control in expression of type I collagen mRNA, implying a maturational effect. Incubation in the presence of vitamin K2 or K3 in a three-dimensional type I collagen gel culture system resulted in increased numbers of cells with elongated cytoplasmic processes resembling osteocytes. This effect was not warfarin sensitive. Addition of calcein to vitamin K-treated cells revealed vitamin K-dependent deposition of mineral associated with cell processes. These effects are consistent with vitamin K promoting the osteoblast-to-osteocyte transition in humans. To test whether vitamin K may also act on mature osteocytes, we tested the effects of vitamin K on MLO-Y4 cells. Vitamin K reduced receptor activator of NF-κB ligand expression relative to osteoprotegerin by MLO-Y4 cells, an effect also seen in human cultures. Together, our findings suggest that vitamin K promotes the osteoblast-to-osteocyte transition, at the same time decreasing the osteoclastogenic potential of these cells. These may be mechanisms by which vitamin K optimizes bone formation and integrity in vivo and may help explain the net positive effect of vitamin K on bone formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C1358-C1367
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Volume297
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Human primary osteoblast
  • MLO-Y4
  • Menadione
  • Menatetrenone
  • Osteocyte
  • Phytonadione
  • Vitamin K1
  • Vitamin K2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology

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