top of page

PubMed Indexed Publications

Potjewijd J, Tobal R, Boomars KA, van Empel VVPM, de Vries F, Damoiseaux
JGMC, Schurgers LJ, van Paassen P. Plasma Dephosphorylated-Uncarboxylated Matrix
Gla-Protein in Systemic Sclerosis Patients: Biomarker Potential for Vascular
Calcification and Inflammation. Diagnostics (Basel). 2023 Nov 24;13(23):3526.

Background: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients face an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), even when classic cardiovascular risk factors are considered. Plasma dephosphorylated-uncarboxylated Matrix Gla-protein (dp-ucMGP), an inactive form of MGP, is associated with increased CVD risk. Smooth muscle cells, implicated in SSc's development, are the primary dp-ucMGP producers. This study assessed dp-ucMGP levels and initial CVD events in early-diagnosed SSc patients, investigating its potential as a CVD and all-cause mortality predictor over time.

Methods: In a cohort of 87 SSc patients (excluding those with pre-existing CVD or on dialysis), baseline dp-ucMGP levels were measured, along with cardiovascular risk factors. Validation involved assessing dp-ucMGP in a subset of treatment-naive SSc patients.

Results: A significantly elevated median dp-ucMGP level of 634 pmol/L (IQR 301) compared with healthy controls (dp-ucMGP < 393 pmol/L; p < 0.001) was observed. Validation in a treatment-naive SSc patient subset yielded similar results (median 589 pmol/L; IQR 370). During a median 10.5-year follow-up among 78 SSc patients, 33.3% experienced their first CVD event, independent of traditional risk factors. Elevated dp-ucMGP levels (>634 pmol/L) correlated with a higher risk of CVD and/or death (log-rank test: p < 0.01).

Conclusions: In summary, dp-ucMGP emerges as a novel biomarker in SSc patients, with elevated levels indicating an increased risk of CVD and/or mortality in this population.

Haroon S, Davenport A, Ling LH, Tai BC, Teo LL, Schurgers L, Chen Z, Shroff

R, Fischer DC, Khatri P, Low S, Tan JN, Chua HR, Teo BW, Ong CC, Subramanian S,

Yeo XE, Wong WK, Lau TW. Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of the Effect of

Treatment with Vitamin K2 on Vascular Calcification in Hemodialysis Patients

(Trevasc-HDK). Kidney Int Rep. 2023 Jun 22;8(9):1741-1751.

Introduction: Vitamin K deficiency among patients on hemodialysis (HD) affects the function of matrix GLA protein (MGP), a potent vitamin K-dependent inhibitor of vascular calcification (VC).


Methods: We conducted a single-center randomized controlled trial (RCT) on maintenance HD patients to examine if vitamin K2 supplementation can reduce progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC) over an 18-month study period. Patients were randomized to vitamin K2 group receiving menaquinone-7360 μg 3 times/wk or control group. The primary outcome was CAC scores at the end of the study period. The secondary outcomes were aortic valve calcification (AVC), carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), aortic augmentation index (AIx), dephosphorylated undercarboxylated MGP (dp-ucMGP) levels, major adverse cardiac events (MACE), and vascular access events.


Results: Of the 178 patients randomized, follow-up was completed for 138 patients. The CAC scores between the 2 groups were not statistically different at the end of 18 months (relative mean difference [RMD] 0.85, 95% CI 0.55-1.31). The secondary outcomes did not differ significantly in AVC (RMD 0.82, 95% CI 0.34-1.98), cfPWV (absolute mean difference [AMD] 0.55, 95% CI -0.50 to 1.60), and AIx (AMD 0.13, 95% CI -3.55 to 3.80). Supplementation with vitamin K2 did reduce dp-ucMGP levels (AMD -86, 95% CI -854 to -117). The composite outcome of MACE and mortality was not statistically different between the 2 groups (Hazard ratio = 0.98, 95% CI 0.50-1.94).


Conclusion: Our study did not demonstrate a beneficial effect of vitamin K2 in reducing progression of VC in this population at the studied dose and duration.

Kremer D, Groothof D, Keyzer CA, Eelderink C, Knobbe TJ, Post A, van Londen
M, Eisenga MF, TransplantLines Investigators, Schurgers LJ, Berger SP, de Borst
MH, Bakker SJL. Kidney Function-Dependence of Vitamin K-Status Parameters:
Results from the TransplantLines Biobank and Cohort Studies. Nutrients. 2021 Aug

High circulating dephosphorylated (dp) uncarboxylated (uc) matrix Gla protein (MGP) and uc osteocalcin (OC) concentrations are regarded as markers of vitamin K-deficiency. However, because MGP and OC are small molecules, they may potentially pass the glomerulus, and their blood concentrations may strongly depend on kidney function. However, many studies with vitamin K-status parameters do not structurally adjust for baseline kidney function, and detailed studies on kidney function-dependence of vitamin K-status markers are lacking. We therefore measured plasma dp-ucMGP using a chemiluminescent assay in 578 kidney transplant recipients (41% females, age 56 ± 13y, 7.5 (3.2 to 13.7)y after transplantation, eGFR 49 ± 17 mL/min/1.73 m2) participating in the prospective TransplantLines Cohort Studies. Additionally, dp-carboxylated MGP, ucOC and carboxylated OC were measured using ELISA in plasma of a subgroup of 60 participants. Finally, dp-ucMGP was measured in a separate cohort of 124 kidney transplant recipients before and three months after kidney transplantation. Dp-ucMGP positively correlated with creatinine, cystatin C, and negatively with eGFR (Spearman's ρ 0.54, 0.60, and -0.54, respectively, p < 0.001 for all), and each 10 mL/min/1.73 m2 increase in eGFR was associated with a 14.0% lower dp-ucMGP. Additionally, dp-ucMGP strongly declined after kidney transplantation (pretransplantation: 1252 (868 to 1744) pmol/L to posttransplantation: 609 (451 to 914) pmol/L, p < 0.001). Proportions of dp-ucMGP over total MGP and ucOC over total OC were not associated with eGFR. This study highlights that dp-ucMGP is strongly associated with kidney function, and that levels strongly decrease after kidney transplantation. We therefore propose adequate adjustment for kidney function, or the use of kidney function-independent parameters such as proportion of uncarboxylated MGP or OC in the assessment of vitamin K-status in clinical practice and research.

van Paridon PCS, Panova-Noeva M, van Oerle R, Schultz A, Hermanns IM, Prochaska JH, Arnold N, Binder H, Schmidtmann I, Beutel ME, Pfeiffer N, Münzel T, Lackner KJ, Ten Cate H, Wild PS, Spronk HMH. Thrombin generation in cardiovascular disease and mortality - results from the Gutenberg Health Study. Haematologica. 2020 Sep 1;105(9):2327-2334.

Thrombin generation may be a potential tool to improve risk stratification for cardiovascular diseases. This study aims to explore the relation between thrombin generation and cardiovascular risk factors, cardiovascular diseases, and total mortality. For this study, N=5000 subjects from the population-based Gutenberg Health Study were analysed in a highly standardized setting. Thrombin generation was assessed by the Calibrated Automated Thrombogram method at 1 and 5 pM tissue factors trigger in platelet poor plasma. Lag time, endogenous thrombin potential, and peak height were derived from the thrombin generation curve. Sex-specific multivariable linear regression analysis adjusted for age, cardiovascular risk factors, cardiovascular diseases and therapy, was used to assess clinical determinants of thrombin generation. Cox regression models adjusted for age, sex, cardiovascular risk factors and vitamin K antagonists investigated the association between thrombin generation parameters and total mortality. Lag time was positively associated with obesity and dyslipidaemia for both sexes (p<0.0001). Obesity was also positively associated with endogenous thrombin potential in both sexes (p<0.0001) and peak height in males (1 pM tissue factor, p=0.0048) and females (p<0.0001). Cox regression models showed an increased mortality in individuals with lag time (1 pM tissue factor, hazard ratio=1.46, [95% CI: 1.07; 2.00], p=0.018) and endogenous thrombin potential (5 pM tissue factor, hazard ratio = 1.50, [1.06; 2.13], p=0.023) above the 95th percentile of the reference group, independent of the cardiovascular risk profile. This large-scale study demonstrates traditional cardiovascular risk factors, particularly obesity, as relevant determinants of thrombin generation. Lag time and endogenous thrombin potential were found as potentially relevant predictors of increased total mortality, which deserves further investigation.

van Paridon PCS, Panova-Noeva M, van Oerle R, Schulz A, Prochaska JH, Arnold N, Schmidtmann I, Beutel M, Pfeiffer N, Münzel T, Lackner KJ, Hackeng TM, Ten Cate H, Wild PS, Spronk HMH. Relation between Tissue Factor Pathway Inhibitor Activity and Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Diseases in a Large Population Sample. Thromb Haemost. 2021 Feb;121(2):174-181.

Objective: Tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) is a potent anticoagulant protein in the extrinsic coagulation pathway. In the present study, we aim to identify the cardiovascular determinants for total TFPI activity and its association with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and total mortality.

Methods: Total TFPI activity was assessed in a selection of the population-based Gutenberg Health Study (n = 5,000). Statistical analysis was performed to identify the determinants for total TFPI activity as well as the associations with CVD and mortality.

Results: Multivariable linear regression analysis identified smoking (β 0.095 [0.054-0.136]) as a positive determinant for total TFPI activity, while diabetes (β -0.072 [-0.134 to -0.009]), obesity (β-0.063 [-0.101 to -0.024]), and history of coronary artery disease (CAD) were negatively associated with total TFPI activity, independent of age, sex, and the remaining cardiovascular risk factors. After adjustment for lipoprotein levels, the association between total TFPI activity levels and obesity and CAD was lost. The analysis additionally revealed a strong positive association between total TFPI activity levels and low-density lipoprotein (β 0.221 [0.204-0.237]). The Cox regression models revealed that a higher total TFPI activity, above 97.5th percentile of the reference group, was associated with an increased mortality risk (hazard ratio = 2.58 [95% confidence interval: 1.49-4.47]), independent of age, sex, and cardiovascular risk profile.

Conclusion: In the Gutenberg Health Study population-based cohort, the highest percentage of total TFPI correlated with an increased mortality risk. While elevated TFPI may reflect endothelial cell activation, the associations between total TFPI activity and obesity and CAD, points to additional mechanistic interactions.

bottom of page