American Journal of Hypertension 2018 - Norman Pollock.pdf (536.76 kB)

Inactive Matrix Gla Protein, Arterial Stiffness, and Endothelial Function in African American Hemodialysis Patients

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journal contribution
posted on 05.03.2019 by Mary Ellen Fain, gaston kapuku, William Paulson, Celestine Williams, Anas Raed, Yanbin Dong, Marjo Knapen, Cees Vermeer, Norman K. Pollock



Matrix Gla protein (MGP) is a vascular calcification inhibitor dependent upon vitamin K for activation. Evidence suggests that elevated plasma inactive MGP levels (desphospho-uncarboxylated MGP, dp-ucMGP; indicating poorer vascular vitamin K status) are associated with greater cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Despite African Americans experiencing highest rates of kidney failure and CVD events, relationships between dp-ucMGP and CVD risk markers have not been examined in this population. We investigated vascular vitamin K status (via plasma dp-ucMGP) between African American hemodialysis (HD) patients and healthy controls, and the associations of dp-ucMGP with arterial stiffness and endothelial function in HD patients only.


In 37 African American HD patients and 37 age- and race-matched controls, plasma dp-ucMGP was measured by enzyme immunoassay as a marker of vascular vitamin K status. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV; arterial stiffness measurement) and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD; endothelial function measurement) were assessed by applanation tonometry and ultrasound, respectively, in HD patients only.


Mean dp-ucMGP levels were 5.6 times higher in HD patients vs. controls (2,139 ± 1,102 vs. 382 ± 181 pmol/l, P < 0.01). Multiple linear regression, adjusting for age, sex, dialysis vintage, diabetes mellitus, CVD history, body mass index, and blood pressure, revealed that dp-ucMGP was independently related to PWV (standardized β = 0.49) and FMD (standardized β = -0.53) (both P < 0.01).


Our data suggest that the higher plasma dp-ucMGP concentrations found in African American HD patients may be associated with greater arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction.


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