Scientists Find Vitamin K2 Repairs Nerve Cells via Mitochondrial Quality Control Loop

Apr 13, 2022 | By TANG Hengfang; ZHAO Weiwei

In a recent study conducted by a research group led by Prof. ZHENG Zhiming from the Institute of Intelligent Machines, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), scientists found a novel function of vitamin K2 – it can regulate mitochondrial membrane potential and relieve oxidative stress, thereby repairing mitochondrial dysfunction and inhibiting nerve cell damage caused by 6-OHDA.

The related research results were published in Nutrients.

6-Hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) is a nerve agent that causes degeneration of dopamine neurons, which can lead to mitochondrial damage and nerve cell death. It is often used in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

In this research, scientists found that vitamin K2 can inhibit nerve cell damage caused by 6-OHDA by protecting mitochondria.

Dr. TANG Hengfang, first author of the paper further explained the mechanism as follows: One is to play the role of the master switch of apoptosis by upregulated the expression of Bcl-2 and downregulated the expression of Bax, thereby regulating mitochondrial membrane potential and ROS levels, and alleviating oxidative stress; the other is to maintain the normal operation of mitochondrial fusion, division, autophagy and generation, thereby control the normal operation of the mitochondrial quality control loop and repair damaged mitochondria.

The research results show that vitamin K2 may play a role in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease by repairing nerve cell damage.

This research has been supported by the Major Projects of Science and Technology of Anhui Province, the National Key R&D Program of China and the Key Research and Development Program of Anhui Province.

Figure 1. Schematic illustration of the protective role of vitamin K2 in 6-OHDA-induced cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. (Image by TANG Hengfang)

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