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Clin Chim Acta. 2005 Jan;351(1-2):131-8.

Characteristics and performance of an immunosorbent assay for human matrix Gla-protein.

Schurgers LJ1, Teunissen KJ, Knapen MH, Geusens P, van der Heijde D, Kwaijtaal M, van Diest R, Ketteler M, Vermeer C.



Matrix gammacarboxyglutamate (Gla)-protein (MGP) is a strong inhibitor of soft tissue calcification and is mainly produced by chondrocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). MGP-deficient mice have extensive calcifications of cartilage and arteries leading to osteopenia, fractures and blood vessel ruptures. Promotor polymorphisms resulting in decreased expression levels were found to be associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in humans.


Recently, an ELISA-based assay has become available with which MGP may be detected in the circulation. The principle of the test kit is that of a competitive immunoassay using a monoclonal antibody against MGP bound to the microtiter plate.


Here, we report on a critical evaluation of this assay and its potential diagnostic utility in diseases associated with the degeneration of the arterial vessel wall and cartilage. The biochemical performance of the kit is satisfactory, and significant differences were found between a number of patient cohorts and the reference population. Serum MGP concentrations were significantly decreased in patients with angina pectoris and in various cartilage diseases.


The assay allows comparison of groups and may become a suitable marker for risk assessment