British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Difference in the metabolism of vitamin K between liver and bone in vitamin K-deficient rats

Toshiro Satoa1 c1, Yutaka Ohtania1, Yoko Yamadaa1, Sanshiroh Saitoha2 and Hiroshi Haradaa3

a1 Chemicals Research Laboratories, Honen Corporation, Asaba-cho, Iwata-gun, Shizuoka 437-1111, Japan

a2 Food Research Laboratories, Honen Corporation, Shimizu City, Shizuoka 424-0824, Japan

a3 Department of Nutritional Science, Faculty of Applied Biological Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture, 1-1-1 Sakuragaoka, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 156-8502, Japan


The difference between vitamin K metabolism in the liver and that in the bone of vitamin K-deficient rats was examined. After 17 d administration of vitamin K-deficient food, vitamin K in the liver was almost depleted, and prothrombin time (PT) was prolonged. Serum total osteocalcin level was slightly decreased by vitamin K deficiency, whereas serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin level did not change. The level of menaquinone (MK)-4 as well as that of phylloquinone was decreased, but approximately 40 % of the initial level still existed in the femur after the 17 d period. A single-dose administration of vitamin K (250 nmol/kg body weight) markedly increased vitamin K level in the liver but not in the femur. These results suggest that the turnover of vitamin K in the bone is slower than that in the liver, and bone metabolism may be little affected by the short period of intake of vitamin K-deficient food. However, intake of a larger amount of vitamin K is required for its accumulation in the bone than in the liver. Furthermore, the counteracting effect of MK-7 on prolonged PT in vitamin K-deficient rats was found to be higher than phylloquinone or MK-4.

(Received February 06 2001)

(Revised November 05 2001)

(Accepted November 28 2001)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr T. Sato, fax +81 538 23 6772, email