Matrix Gla protein (MGP) is a vitamin K-dependent protein, which is synthesized in bone and many other mesenchymal cells, which is also highly expressed by vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and chondrocytes. Numerous studies have confirmed that MGP acts as a calcification-inhibitor although the mechanism of action is still not fully understood. The modulation of tissue calcification by MGP is potentially regulated in several ways including direct inhibition of calcium-phosphate precipitation, the formation of matrix vesicles (MVs), the formation of apoptotic bodies (ABs), and trans-differentiation of VSMCs. MGP occurs as four species, i.e. fully carboxylated (cMGP), under-carboxylated, i.e. poorly carboxylated (ucMGP), phosphorylated (pMGP), and non-phosphorylated (desphospho, dpMGP). ELISA methods are currently available that can detect the different species of MGP. The expression of the MGP gene can be regulated via various mechanisms that have the potential to become genomic biomarkers for the prediction of vascular calcification (VC) progression. VC is an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is particularly prevalent in those with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The specific action of MGP is not yet clearly understood but could be involved with the functional inhibition of BMP-2 and BMP-4, by blocking calcium crystal deposition and shielding the nidus from calcification.
Keywords: MGP; Matrix gla protein; VSMCs; cardiovascular diseases; vascular calcification; vitamin K..
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