Elastin degradation is accelerated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is partially regulated by Matrix Gla Protein (MGP), via a vitamin K-dependent pathway. The aim was to assess vitamin K status in COPD as well as associations between vitamin K status, elastin degradation, lung function parameters and mortality. A total of 192 COPD patients and 186 age-matched controls were included. In addition to this, 290 COPD patients from a second independent longitudinal cohort were also included. Vitamin K status was assessed by measuring plasma inactive MGP levels and rates of elastin degradation by measuring plasma desmosine levels. Reduced vitamin K status was found in COPD patients compared to smoking controls (p < 0.0005) and controls who had never smoked (p = 0.001). Vitamin K status was inversely associated with desmosine (cohort 1: p = 0.001; cohort 2: p = 0.004). Only few significant associations between vitamin K status and lung function parameters were found. Mortality was higher in COPD patients within the quartile with the lowest vitamin K status compared to those within the other quartiles (hazard ratio 1.85, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.21-2.83, p = 0.005). In conclusion, we demonstrated reduced vitamin K status in COPD and an inverse association between vitamin K status and elastin degradation rate. Our results therefore suggest a potential role of vitamin K in COPD pathogenesis.
Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; desmosine; elastin degradation; matrix Gla protein; vitamin K.