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Vitamin K metabolism: Current knowledge and future research

Authors

  • David J. Card,

    Corresponding author
    1. Nutristasis Unit (GSTS Pathology), St. Thomas’ Hospital (Part of King's Healthcare Partners), London, UK
    • Correspondence: David Card, GSTS Pathology, 5th floor North Wing, St. Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH, UK

      E-mail: david.card@gsts.com

      Fax: +44-0-207-188-2726

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  • Renata Gorska,

    1. Nutristasis Unit (GSTS Pathology), St. Thomas’ Hospital (Part of King's Healthcare Partners), London, UK
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  • Jacky Cutler,

    1. Nutristasis Unit (GSTS Pathology), St. Thomas’ Hospital (Part of King's Healthcare Partners), London, UK
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  • Dominic J. Harrington

    1. Nutristasis Unit (GSTS Pathology), St. Thomas’ Hospital (Part of King's Healthcare Partners), London, UK
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Abstract

Vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble micronutrient that is required for the post-translational γ-carboxylation of specific glutamic acid residues in hepatic and extra-hepatic proteins involved in blood coagulation and preventing cartilage and vasculature calcification. In humans, sources of vitamin K are derived from plants as phylloquinone and bacteria as the menaquinones. Menadione is a synthetic product used as a pharmaceutical but also represents an intermediate in the tissue-specific conversion of vitamin K to menaquinone-4, which preferentially resides in tissues such as brain. Research into vitamin K metabolism is essential for the understanding of vitamin K biology in health and disease. Progress in this area, driven by knowledge of vitamin K and the availability of markers of vitamin K status, has already proved beneficial in many areas of medicine and further opportunities present themselves. Areas of interest discussed in this review include prophylactic administration of vitamin K1 in term and preterm neonates, interactions between vitamins K and E, the industrial conversion of vitamin K to dihydro-vitamin K in foods, tissue-specific conversion of vitamin K to menaquinone-4, the biological activity of the five and seven carbon metabolites of vitamin K and circadian variations.

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