Vitamin K and Dentin status
Vitamin K Supply and Metabolism

Author: Andrea Palomba
Date: 06/06/2009



Vitamin K is involved in a lot of microbiological reactions,expecially in coagulation and in bone and dentin formation

The intention of our work is to see if there could be possible interactions between dentin formation, vitamin k intake and an increased risk of caries in case of vitamin k deficency.

Dentin formation

Dentin consists of microscopic channels, called dentinal tubules, which radiate outward through the dentin from the pulp to the exterior cementum or enamel border.These tubules contain fluid and cellular structures.

Dentinogenesis is performed by odontoblasts

The odontoblast process forms during dentinogenesis and results from a part of the odontoblast staying in its location as the main body of the odontoblast moves toward the center of the tooth's pulp. The odontoblast process causes the secretion of hydroxyapatite crystals and mineralization of the matrix secreted by the odontoblasts.


Here you are some short and useful definitions for a complete comprehension of the following studies.


Gamma-carboxiglutamic acid


Vitamin k-dependent matrix Gla protein

MGP is also expressed at high levels in heart, kidney, and lung and is upregulated by vitamin D in bone cells.
MGP is a 10-kD protein produced and secreted by vascular smooth muscle cells and
chondrocytes and significantly accumulated in bone, cartilage, and dentin.


It's an abundant Ca2+-binding protein indigenous to the organic matrix of bone, dentin, and possibly other mineralized tissues. Osteocalcin is distinguished by its content of three gamma-carboxyglutamic (Gla) residues.

Studies correlated to vitamin k and dentin formation

The studies we are going to present have been selected in order to show how the most common vitamin k-dependent factors are involved in bone/tooth formation reactions.

Vitamin K2 inhibits osteoclastic bone resorption by inducing osteoclast apoptosis.

Vitamin K1 is also known as phylloquinone or phytomenadione (also called phytonadione). Vitamin K2 (menaquinone, menatetrenone) is normally produced by bacteria in the Large Intestine
Vitamin K2 inhibites osteoclastic bone resorption in unfractionated bone cells and isolated osteoclasts; on dentin slices VK2 induces osteoclast apoptosis, whereas vit k1 doesn't.
Moreover, cycloheximide inhibites VK2-induced osteoclast apoptosis.

MGP and natural bone/tooth loss

Genetic factors had been implicated in the determination of natural tooth loss.
MGP had been implicated as a candidate gene in the pathogenesis of bone loss through a repression of bone/tooth formation.

Osteocalcin: the vitamin K-dependent Ca2+ binding protein of bone matrix

Osteocalcin biosynthesis, which occurs in bone and dentin, depends on Vitamin k.
Although the biological function of osteocalcin is still unknown, it appears to be a highly specific osteoblastic marker produced during bone formation.

Role of Vitamin-k in bone methabolism

Additional information about Vitamin K-dependent proteins

Arterial vessel wall the functions of Gla-proteins

Several VKD proteins have been discovered during the last 20 years. Among them are MGP (Matrix Gla Proteins), found in bone, cartilage, and vascular smooth muscle cells, but also Osteocalcin and most of Coagulation Factors. Recent studies have shown that MGP plays a key role in the inhibition of tissue calcification. As with all VKD proteins, MGP needs to be carboxylated (activated) to function properly. This carboxylation or activation is done by Vitamin K. Hence, Vitamin K deficiency may be a risk factor for vascular calcification. Until recently, vascular calcification was widely regarded as merely a rare, end stage, passive, degenerative, and inevitable process of aging. Evidence now suggests that it is an active, cell controlled process that shares many similarities to bone metabolism.
N.B. However, vascular smooth cell's MPG is note the same as the bone and dentin one, so we can administer WARFARIN, without any risk to put in geopardy patient's bones or teeth. The same thing occurs with Osteocalcin.


After reading these articles, we draw out that Vitamin K is really important either for bone formation, either for coagulation and soft tissue calcification. This is due to his important role for all the vitamin K - dependent proteins (Gla proteins)
As far as Dentistry is concerned, despite there are neither recent nor available studies that correlate a vitamin k deficency with an incorrect dentin calcification, we can suppose that, in case of a vitamin k-deficency or a vitamin k-resistance, there could be an alterated dentin mineralization and so a major risk of dental caries, tooth loss or other dental diseases.


  1. Kameda T, Miyazawa K, Mori Y, Yuasa T, Shiokawa M, Nakamaru Y, Mano H, Hakeda Y, Kameda A, Kumegawa M.
  2. Gorter de Vries I, Wisse E, Williamson MK, Price PA.
  3. Price PA, Fraser JD, Metz-Virca G.
  4. Hauschka PV.
  5. Matrix gamma-carboxyglutamic acid; MGP
  6. arterial vessel wall the functions of Gla-proteins
  7. Gla and pirophosphate

Correlated Studies

  1. Vitamin K-dependent crosstalk
  2. Osteocalcin and the origin of life
  3. Ca and P homeostasis
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