The distributions of phylloquinone (PK) and menaquinone-4 (MK-4) in various tissues were assessed after the oral administration of phylloquinone. Wistar rats were fed a vitamin-K-deficient diet for nine days, fasted for 24 h and then given phylloquinone orally at 4 mg/kg body weight. Rats were sacrificed 0, 6, 12 and 24 h after the administration, and an analysis was made of the vitamin K analogues in the plasma, liver, brain, testis, kidney and spleen. The phylloquinone concentration in plasma and the tissues reached a peak 6 h after the oral administration of phylloquinone. By contrast, the concentration of MK-4 peaked in the liver, plasma and spleen at 12 h, and in brain and testis at 24 h. This data suggests that the ingested phylloquinone was probably converted into MK-4 within the tissues themselves, rather than via hepatic metabolism. The evidence for this is that, after phylloquinone administration, (i) in each of the tissues, the MK-4 concentration increased much more slowly than that of phylloquinone, and (ii) the MK-4 concentration in the plasma and liver reached only much lower levels than those seen in other tissues.
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