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The rupture of atherosclerotic plaques is the prerequisite for adverse cardiovascular events. Calcification morphology plays a critical role in plaque stability, therefore accurate calcification classification is essential for favourable patient management. Blood biomarkers may be a worthwhile approach to stratify patients based on calcification phenotype. Vitamin K-dependent Matrix γ-carboxyglutamate (Gla) protein (MGP) is a potent inhibitor of vascular calcification. Recent studies have demonstrated the potential utility of circulating non-functional MGP (dp-ucMGP) measurements to determine arterial stiffness and calcification levels. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between circulating dp-ucMGP and calcification phenotype within symptomatic atherosclerotic lesions. Consenting patients undergoing standard endarterectomy procedures were recruited (n = 29). Fasting venous blood was collected preoperatively. Circulating plasma levels of dp-ucMGP were quantified using the inaKtif MGP (dp-ucMGP) iSYS kit. A bicinchoninic acid assay was used to standardise the total protein content present in each sample. High-resolution micro-CT imaging was conducted on the excised atherosclerotic specimens postoperatively. ImageJ post-processing was used to accurately quantify the calcification volume (≥ 130 Hounsfield Units) and determine the total number of calcified particles (3D objects counter plugin). Thirteen carotid (average age 71 years, 9 male) and fourteen peripheral lower limb (average age 65 years, 12 male) patients were examined. One patient had a carotid and a peripheral lower limb plaque (age 79, male). Peripheral lower limb specimens have larger volumes of calcification and higher numbers of calcified particles than carotid samples (472 ± 310 vs 85 ± 113mm3, p < 0.0005; 13919 ± 16034 vs 3476 ± 6208, p = 0.061.) While a higher dp-ucMGP value was noted in carotid than peripheral lower limb patients (214 ± 52 vs 169 ± 36pmol/L, p = 0.014) there was no correlation between circulating dp-ucMGP and calcification volume or number of calcified particles (rs = -0.329 and rs = 0.046). Previous research also found that peripheral lower limb lesions contain higher volumes of calcification than carotid lesions. There is currently no published data on calcified particle comparisons. Patients with symptomatic carotid disease are assumed to have a degree of peripheral arterial disease, this could explain the higher levels of circulating dp-ucMGP in carotid patients. The current study did not examine the dietary patterns of individuals with regards to Vitamin K intake or analyse other areas of the vasculature for additional calcification. This may interfere with dp-ucMGP measurements. This study serves as a preliminary investigation into the potential of dp-ucMGP as a blood based biomarker to distinguish between symptomatic atherosclerotic calcification phenotypes.
Although epidemiological findings support a role for vitamin K status in the improvement of bone indices in adult patients with Crohn's disease (CD), this needs to be confirmed in double-blind, randomised controlled trials (RCT) with phylloquinone (vitamin K1). By conducting two RCT, the present study aimed to first establish whether supplementation with 1000 μg of phylloquinone daily near-maximally suppresses the percentage of undercarboxylated osteocalcin in serum (%ucOC; marker of vitamin K status) in adult patients with CD currently in remission as it does in healthy adults and second determine the effect of supplementation with phylloquinone at this dose for 12 months on the indices of bone turnover and bone mass. The initial dose-ranging RCT was conducted in adult patients with CD (n 10 per group) using 0 (placebo), 1000 or 2000 μg of phylloquinone daily for 2 weeks. In the main RCT, the effect of placebo v. 1000 μg vitamin K/d (both co-administered with Ca (500 mg/d) and vitamin D3 (10 μg/d)) for 12 months (n 43 per group) on the biochemical indices of bone turnover (determined by enzyme immunoassay) and bone mass (determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) were investigated. At baseline, the mean %ucOC was 47 %, and this was suppressed upon supplementation with 1000 μg of phylloquinone daily ( − 81 %; P< 0·01) and not suppressed further by 2000 μg of phylloquinone daily. Compared with the placebo, supplementation with 1000 μg of phylloquinone daily for 12 months had no significant effect (P>0·1) on bone turnover markers or on the bone mass of the lumbar spine or femur, but modestly increased (P< 0·05) the bone mass of the total radius. Despite near maximal suppression of serum %ucOC, supplementation with 1000 μg of phylloquinone daily (with Ca and vitamin D3) had no effect on the indices of bone health in adult CD patients with likely vitamin K insufficiency.
Alterations in intestinal microbiota composition and function have been linked to conditions including functional gastrointestinal disorders, obesity and diabetes. The gut microbiome encodes metabolic capability in excess of that encoded by the human genome, and bacterially produced enzymes are important for releasing nutrients from complex dietary ingredients. Previous culture-based studies had indicated that the gut microbiota of older people was different from that of younger adults, but the detailed findings were contradictory. Small-scale studies had also shown that the microbiota composition could be altered by dietary intervention or supplementation. We showed that the core microbiota and aggregate composition in 161 seniors was distinct from that of younger persons. To further investigate the reasons for this variation, we analysed the microbiota composition of 178 elderly subjects for whom the dietary intake data were available. The data revealed distinct microbiota composition groups, which overlapped with distinct dietary patterns that were governed by where people lived: at home, in rehabilitation or in long-term residential care. These diet–microbiota separations correlated with cluster analysis of NMR-derived faecal metabolites and shotgun metagenomic data. Major separations in the microbiota correlated with selected clinical measurements. It should thus be possible to programme the microbiota to enrich bacterial species and activities that promote healthier ageing. A number of other studies have investigated the effect of certain dietary components and their ability to modulate the microbiota composition to promote health. This review will discuss dietary interventions conducted thus far, especially those in elderly populations and highlight their impact on the intestinal microbiota.
There is some evidence for a nutritional interaction between vitamin D and vitamin K status. We have recently reported that serum percentage undercarboxylated osteocalcin (%ucOC; a marker of vitamin K status) was inversely correlated with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration (reflective of vitamin D status) in healthy Danish girls (aged 11–12 years), in line with a similar relationship reported in elderly women. While the causal nature of the relationship between vitamin D status and serum %ucOC has been tested in studies of elderly women, it has not been investigated in children. The objective of the present study was to test the hypothesis that improving vitamin D status significantly lowers serum %ucOC. Serum samples from sixty-seven healthy Danish girls (aged 11–12 years), who participated in a 12-month double-blind, placebo-controlled, vitamin D3 intervention trial were used for the present study. These girls were a subset of subjects which began and finished the intervention during wintertime, thus avoiding the influence of seasonality on vitamin D status. A total of thirty-three and thirty-four of the girls had been randomised to treatment with 10 μg vitamin D3 per d and placebo, respectively, for 12 months. Total osteocalcin and the fraction of ucOC in serum (via enzyme-immunoassay) as well as serum 25(OH)D (via HPLC) were assessed at baseline and end-point. Vitamin D3 supplementation significantly increased serum 25(OH)D (21·6 %; P < 0·002) but had no effect on serum %ucOC (P>0·8). In conclusion, the findings of the present intervention study in young girls suggest that vitamin D supplementation does not affect serum %ucOC, a marker of vitamin K status.
Recent cross-sectional data suggest that better vitamin K status in young girls (aged 3–16 years) is associated with decreased bone turnover, even though it is not associated with bone mineral content (BMC). The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between serum percentage of undercarboxylated osteocalcin (%ucOC), as an index of vitamin K status, and BMC and biochemical indices of bone turnover in peri-pubertal Danish girls. This peri-pubertal stage is a dynamic period of bone development, and as such, may represent an important window of opportunity for vitamin K status to modulate childhood bone health. Serum %ucOC and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH) D) were measured at baseline in a study of 223 healthy girls aged 11–12 years. Urinary pyridinium crosslinks of collagen and serum total osteocalcin as markers of bone resorption and formation, respectively, as well as BMC (total body and lumbar spine) were also measured. Serum %ucOC (median 21·9 %) was not associated with markers of bone resorption or with total osteocalcin. Serum %ucOC was inversely correlated with serum 25 (OH) D (r − 0·143; P < 0·05). Serum %ucOC was negatively associated with BMC of the total body (β − 0·045; P < 0·001) and lumbar spine (β − 0·055; P < 0·05), after adjustment for potential confounders including vitamin D status. Better vitamin K status was associated with increased BMC, but not bone turnover, in healthy peri-pubertal Danish girls. There is a need for well-designed, randomized phylloquinone supplementation trials in children and adolescents to confirm epidemiological findings of an association between vitamin K status and bone health.
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