Osteoblast-Specific γ-Glutamyl Carboxylase-Deficient Mice Display Enhanced Bone Formation With Aberrant Mineralization

J Bone Miner Res. 2015 Jul;30(7):1245-54. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2463.


Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for blood coagulation. In addition, it has bone-protective effects. Vitamin K functions as a cofactor of γ-glutamyl carboxylase (GGCX), which activates its substrates by carboxylation. These substrates are found throughout the body and examples include hepatic blood coagulation factors. Furthermore, vitamin K functions as a ligand of the nuclear receptor known as steroid and xenobiotic receptor (SXR) and its murine ortholog, pregnane X receptor (PXR). We have previously reported on the bone-protective role of SXR/PXR signaling by demonstrating that systemic Pxr-knockout mice displayed osteopenia. Because systemic Ggcx-knockout mice die shortly after birth from severe hemorrhage, the GGCX-mediated effect of vitamin K on bone metabolism has been difficult to evaluate. In this work, we utilized Ggcx-floxed mice to generate osteoblast-specific GGCX-deficient (Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl)) mice by crossing them with Col1-Cre mice. The bone mineral density (BMD) of Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice was significantly higher than that of control Col1-Cre (Ggcx(+/+)) mice. Histomorphometrical analysis of trabecular bones in the proximal tibia showed increased osteoid volume and a higher rate of bone formation in Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice. Histomorphometrical analysis of cortical bones revealed a thicker cortical width and a higher rate of bone formation in Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice. Electron microscopic examination revealed disassembly of mineralized nodules and aberrant calcification of collagen fibers in Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice. The mechanical properties of bones from Ggcx(Δobl/Δobl) mice tended to be stronger than those from control Ggcx(+/+) mice. These results suggest that GGCX in osteoblasts functions to prevent abnormal mineralization in bone formation, although this function may not be a prerequisite for the bone-protective effect of vitamin K.


Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Density
  • Calcification, Physiologic*
  • Carbon-Carbon Ligases / deficiency*
  • Carbon-Carbon Ligases / metabolism
  • Femur / pathology
  • Femur / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Organ Specificity
  • Osteoblasts / enzymology*
  • Osteoblasts / pathology
  • Osteogenesis*
  • Tibia / pathology
  • Tibia / physiopathology
  • Tibia / ultrastructure


  • Carbon-Carbon Ligases
  • glutamyl carboxylase