Increased pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a marker of aortic stiffness and an independent predictor of mortality. Matrix Gla-protein (MGP) is a vascular calcification inhibitor that needs vitamin K to be activated. Inactive MGP, known as desphospho-uncarboxylated MGP (dp-ucMGP), can be measured in plasma and has been associated with various cardiovascular markers, cardiovascular outcomes, and mortality. In this study, we hypothesized that high levels of dp-ucMGP are associated with increased PWV. We recruited participants via a multicenter family-based cross-sectional study in Switzerland. Dp-ucMGP was quantified in plasma by sandwich ELISA. Aortic PWV was determined by applanation tonometry using carotid and femoral pulse waveforms. Multiple regression analysis was performed to estimate associations between PWV and dp-ucMGP adjusting for age, renal function, and other cardiovascular risk factors. We included 1001 participants in our analyses (475 men and 526 women). Mean values were 7.87±2.10 m/s for PWV and 0.43±0.20 nmol/L for dp-ucMGP. PWV was positively associated with dp-ucMGP both before and after adjustment for sex, age, body mass index, height, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP), heart rate, renal function, low- and high-density lipoprotein, glucose, smoking status, diabetes mellitus, BP and cholesterol lowering drugs, and history of cardiovascular disease (P≤0.01). In conclusion, high levels of dp-ucMGP are independently and positively associated with arterial stiffness after adjustment for common cardiovascular risk factors, renal function, and age. Experimental studies are needed to determine whether vitamin K supplementation slows arterial stiffening by increasing MGP carboxylation.
Keywords: calcium-binding protein; matrix Gla-protein; pulse wave velocity; vascular stiffness; vitamin K.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.