Kidney Function-Dependence of Vitamin K-Status Parameters: Results from the TransplantLines Biobank and Cohort Studies

TransplantLines Investigators

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High circulating dephosphorylated (dp) uncarboxylated (uc) matrix Gla protein (MGP) and uc osteocalcin (OC) concentrations are regarded as markers of vitamin K-deficiency. However, because MGP and OC are small molecules, they may potentially pass the glomerulus, and their blood concentrations may strongly depend on kidney function. However, many studies with vitamin K-status parameters do not structurally adjust for baseline kidney function, and detailed studies on kidney function-dependence of vitamin K-status markers are lacking. We therefore measured plasma dp-ucMGP using a chemiluminescent assay in 578 kidney transplant recipients (41% females, age 56 +/- 13y, 7.5 (3.2 to 13.7)y after transplantation, eGFR 49 +/- 17 mL/min/1.73 m(2)) participating in the prospective TransplantLines Cohort Studies. Additionally, dp-carboxylated MGP, ucOC and carboxylated OC were measured using ELISA in plasma of a subgroup of 60 participants. Finally, dp-ucMGP was measured in a separate cohort of 124 kidney transplant recipients before and three months after kidney transplantation. Dp-ucMGP positively correlated with creatinine, cystatin C, and negatively with eGFR (Spearman's rho 0.54, 0.60, and -0.54, respectively, p < 0.001 for all), and each 10 mL/min/1.73 m(2) increase in eGFR was associated with a 14.0% lower dp-ucMGP. Additionally, dp-ucMGP strongly declined after kidney transplantation (pretransplantation: 1252 (868 to 1744) pmol/L to posttransplantation: 609 (451 to 914) pmol/L, p < 0.001). Proportions of dp-ucMGP over total MGP and ucOC over total OC were not associated with eGFR. This study highlights that dp-ucMGP is strongly associated with kidney function, and that levels strongly decrease after kidney transplantation. We therefore propose adequate adjustment for kidney function, or the use of kidney function-independent parameters such as proportion of uncarboxylated MGP or OC in the assessment of vitamin K-status in clinical practice and research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3069
Number of pages13
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • matrix Gla protein
  • osteocalcin
  • vitamin K
  • vascular calcification
  • kidney transplant
  • kidney function

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