We measured the vitamin K status in postmortem human tissues (brain, heart, kidney, liver, lung, pancreas) to see if there is a tissue-specific distribution pattern. Phylloquinone (K1,) was recovered in all tissues with relatively high levels in liver, heart and pancreas (medians, 10·6 (4·8), 9·3 (4·2), 28·4 (12·8) pmol(ng)/g wet weight tissue); low levels (< 2 pmol/g) were found in brain, kidney and lung. Menaquinone-4 (MK-4) was recovered from most of the tissues; its levels exceeded the K1 levels in brain and kidney (median, 2·8 ng/g) and equalled K1 in pancreas. Liver, heart and lung were low in MK–4. The higher menaquinones, MK-6–11, were recovered in the liver samples (n 6), traces of MK-6–9 were found in some of the heart and pancreas samples. The results show that in man there are tissue-specific, vitamin-K distribution patterns comparable to those in the rat. Furthermore, the accumulation of vitamin K in heart, brain and pancreas suggests a hitherto unrecognized physiological function of this vitamin.
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