The identification of the vitamin K-dependent bone protein osteocalcin as one of the gamma-carboxyglutamic acid containing proteins present in calcified atherosclerotic plaque and mineralized heart valves

Atherosclerosis. 1983 Jan;46(1):49-56. doi: 10.1016/0021-9150(83)90163-6.


Calcium binding proteins containing gamma-carboxyglutamic acid (Gla) have previously been demonstrated to occur in calcified atherosclerotic plaque and calcified cardiac valves. Experiments were carried out to determine if one of the Gla-containing proteins in human cardiovascular calcifications is the vitamin K-dependent bone protein, osteocalcin. A radio-immunoassay for human osteocalcin was employed, and EDTA extractions of calcified atheromata, and aortic valves as well as relevant noncalcified material were analyzed. Tissue calcium levels were also determined, as were Gla levels as a measure of total vitamin K-dependent protein content. Osteocalcin was present at low levels in all calcified cardiovascular tissues (4.5-175.7 ng osteocalcin/mg protein) with trace levels or nondetectable amounts present in noncalcified tissue. Osteocalcin accounted for a small proportion of the total protein-bound Gla (0.01-0.05%). The relationship of osteocalcin to the other Gla-containing proteins of atherosclerotic plaque including atherocalcin, the principal extractable Gla-containing protein of calcified plaque, is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 1-Carboxyglutamic Acid / analysis*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcinosis / metabolism*
  • Calcinosis / pathology
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / analysis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Glutamates / analysis*
  • Heart Valves / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteocalcin
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology
  • Vitamin K / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Glutamates
  • Proteins
  • Osteocalcin
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin D
  • 1-Carboxyglutamic Acid