Vitamin K2, raloxifene, and bisphosphonates, such as etidronate, alendronate, and risedronate, are widely used in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis in Japan. A meta-analysis study has demonstrated the efficacy of anti-resorptive agents: raloxifene and etidronate have been shown to reduce the incidence of vertebral fractures, and alendronate and risedronate have been shown to reduce the incidence of both vertebral and hip fractures. Furthermore, a report of the World Health Organization (WHO) has provided evidence from a randomized controlled trial suggesting that vitamin K2, which may stimulate bone formation via γ-carboxylation of osteocalcin and/or steroid and xenobiotic receptors (SXRs), reduces the incidence of vertebral fractures, despite having only modest effects on the bone mineral density (BMD). Based on the weight of the currently available evidence, it i s recommended that alendronate and risedronate, rather than vitamin K2, should be chosen initially for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, because these agents have been shown to be the most efficacious for reducing the incidence of both vertebral and hip fractures among the current range of commercially available agents. However, the more potent anti-fracture efficacy of combined treatment with the anti-resorptive and commercially available anabolic agents may need to be established. Some studies have shown that combined treatment with a bisphosphonate and vitamin K2 may be more effective than treatment with a bisphosphonate alone in preventing vertebral fractures. On the other hand, the results of a preclinical study do suggest the possible efficacy of combined treatment with vitamin K2 and raloxifene in the prevention of vertebral and hip fractures in postmenopausal women, although no clinical studies have reported on the effects of combined treatment with vitamin K2 and raloxifene in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Vitamin K deficiency, as indicated by high serum levels of undercarboxylated osteocalcin, has been shown to contribute to the occurrence of hip fractures in elderly women. Thus, we propose that the important role of vitamin K2 used in combination with bisphosphonates or raloxifene should not be underestimated in the prevention of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis with vitamin K deficiency.
Vitamin K2, undercarboxylated osteocalcin, steroid and xenobiotic receptor (SXR), bone formation, postmenopausal osteoporosis
Department of Sports Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi,Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan.