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Open access

Christian Trummer, Stefan Pilz, Verena Schwetz, Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, and Elisabeth Lerchbaum

Background

Accumulating evidence from animal and human studies suggests that vitamin D is involved in many functions of the reproductive system in both genders.

Aim

The aim of this review was to provide an overview on the effects of vitamin D on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women and androgen metabolism in men.

Methods

We performed a systematic literature search in PubMed for relevant English language publications published from January 2012 until September 2017.

Results and discussion

The vitamin D receptor and vitamin D-metabolizing enzymes are found in reproductive tissues of women and men. In women, vitamin D status has been associated with several features of PCOS. In detail, cross-sectional data suggest a regulatory role of vitamin D in PCOS-related aspects such as ovulatory dysfunction, insulin resistance as well as hyperandrogenism. Moreover, results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) suggest that vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for metabolic, endocrine and fertility aspects in PCOS. In men, vitamin D status has been associated with androgen levels and hypogonadism. Further, there is some evidence for a favorable effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone concentrations, although others failed to show a significant effect on testosterone levels.

Conclusion

In summary, vitamin D deficiency is associated with adverse fertility outcomes including PCOS and hypogonadism, but the evidence is insufficient to establish causality. High-quality RCTs are needed to further evaluate the effects of vitamin D supplementation in PCOS women as well as on androgen levels in men.

Open access

Agnès Linglart, Martin Biosse-Duplan, Karine Briot, Catherine Chaussain, Laure Esterle, Séverine Guillaume-Czitrom, Peter Kamenicky, Jerome Nevoux, Dominique Prié, Anya Rothenbuhler, Philippe Wicart, and Pol Harvengt

In children, hypophosphatemic rickets (HR) is revealed by delayed walking, waddling gait, leg bowing, enlarged cartilages, bone pain, craniostenosis, spontaneous dental abscesses, and growth failure. If undiagnosed during childhood, patients with hypophosphatemia present with bone and/or joint pain, fractures, mineralization defects such as osteomalacia, entesopathy, severe dental anomalies, hearing loss, and fatigue. Healing rickets is the initial endpoint of treatment in children. Therapy aims at counteracting consequences of FGF23 excess, i.e. oral phosphorus supplementation with multiple daily intakes to compensate for renal phosphate wasting and active vitamin D analogs (alfacalcidol or calcitriol) to counter the 1,25-diOH-vitamin D deficiency. Corrective surgeries for residual leg bowing at the end of growth are occasionally performed. In absence of consensus regarding indications of the treatment in adults, it is generally accepted that medical treatment should be reinitiated (or maintained) in symptomatic patients to reduce pain, which may be due to bone microfractures and/or osteomalacia. In addition to the conventional treatment, optimal care of symptomatic patients requires pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of pain and joint stiffness, through appropriated rehabilitation. Much attention should be given to the dental and periodontal manifestations of HR. Besides vitamin D analogs and phosphate supplements that improve tooth mineralization, rigorous oral hygiene, active endodontic treatment of root abscesses and preventive protection of teeth surfaces are recommended. Current outcomes of this therapy are still not optimal, and therapies targeting the pathophysiology of the disease, i.e. FGF23 excess, are desirable. In this review, medical, dental, surgical, and contributions of various expertises to the treatment of HR are described, with an effort to highlight the importance of coordinated care.

Open access

Adriana J van Ballegooijen, Marjolein Visser, Marieke B Snijder, Jacqueline M Dekker, Giel Nijpels, Coen D A Stehouwer, Michaela Diamant, and Ingeborg A Brouwer

Objective

A disturbed vitamin D–parathyroid hormone (PTH)–calcium axis may play a role in the pathogenesis of heart failure. Therefore, we investigated whether lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and higher PTH are cross sectionally and after 8 years of follow-up associated with higher B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels in older men and women.

Design and methods

We measured baseline 25(OH)D, PTH, and BNP in 502 subjects in 2000–2001 in the Hoorn Study, a population-based cohort. Follow-up BNP was available in 2007–2009 in 278 subjects. Subjects were categorized according to season- and sex-specific quartiles of 25(OH)D and PTH at baseline. We studied the association of 25(OH)D and PTH quartiles with BNP using linear regression analyses adjusting for confounders. Analyses were stratified by kidney function estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR; ≤60 ml/min per 1.73 m2) because of significant interaction.

Results

At baseline, subjects had a mean age of 69.9±6.6 years, mean 25(OH)D level was 52.2±19.5 nmol/l and mean PTH 6.1±2.4 pmol/l. Cross sectionally, 25(OH)D was associated with BNP in subjects with impaired kidney function (eGFR ≤60 ml/min) only. The association attenuated after adjustment for PTH. PTH was cross sectionally associated with BNP, also in subjects with impaired kidney function only: regression coefficient of highest quartile 9.9 pmol/l (95% confidence interval 2.5, 17.4) with a significant trend across quartiles. Neither 25(OH)D nor PTH was associated with BNP in longitudinal analyses.

Conclusion

This study showed overall no strong association between 25(OH)D and BNP. However, PTH was associated with BNP in subjects with impaired kidney function and may point to a potential role in myocardial function.

Open access

Raja Padidela, Moira S Cheung, Vrinda Saraff, and Poonam Dharmaraj

X-linked hypophosphataemia (XLH) is caused by a pathogenic variant in the PHEX gene, which leads to elevated circulating FGF23. High FGF23 causes hypophosphataemia, reduced active vitamin D concentration and clinically manifests as rickets in children and osteomalacia in children and adults. Conventional therapy for XLH includes oral phosphate and active vitamin D analogues but does not specifically treat the underlying pathophysiology of elevated FGF23-induced hypophosphataemia. In addition, adherence to conventional therapy is limited by frequent daily dosing and side effects such as gastrointestinal symptoms, secondary hyperparathyroidism and nephrocalcinosis. Burosumab, a recombinant human IgG1 MAB that binds to and inhibits the activity of FGF23, is administered subcutaneously every 2 weeks. In clinical trials (phase 2 and 3) burosumab was shown to improve phosphate homeostasis that consequently resolves the skeletal/non-skeletal manifestations of XLH. Burosumab was licensed in Europe (February 2018) with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, UK approving use within its marketing authorisation in October 2018. In this publication, the British Paediatric and Adolescent Bone Group (BPABG) reviewed current evidence and provide expert recommendations for care pathway and management of XLH with burosumab.

Open access

Huma Qamar, Nandita Perumal, Eszter Papp, Alison D Gernand, Abdullah Al Mahmud, and Daniel E Roth

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) reflects inadequate growth in-utero and is prevalent in low resource settings. This study aimed to assess the association of maternal delivery parathyroid hormone (PTH) – a regulator of bone turnover and calcium homeostasis – with newborn anthropometry, to identify regulators of PTH, and to delineate pathways by which maternal PTH regulates birth size using path analysis. This was a cross-sectional analysis of data from participants (n = 537) enrolled in the Maternal Vitamin D for Infant Growth trial in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Primary exposures were maternal delivery intact PTH (iPTH) or whole PTH (wPTH) and outcomes were gestational age- and sex-standardized z-scores for birth length (LAZ), weight (WAZ), and head circumference (HCAZ). Hypothesized regulators of PTH included calcium and protein intake, vitamin D, magnesium, fibroblast-like growth factor-23 (FGF23), and C-reactive protein. Maternal iPTH was not associated with birth size in linear regression analyses; however, in path analysis models, every SD increase in log(iPTH) was associated with 0.08SD (95% CI: 0.002, 0.162) higher LAZ. In linear regression and path analysis models, wPTH was positively associated with WAZ. Vitamin D suppressed PTH, while FGF23 was positively associated with PTH. In path analysis models, higher magnesium was negatively associated with LAZ; FGF23 was positively associated and protein intake was negatively associated with LAZ, WAZ, and HCAZ. Higher maternal PTH in late pregnancy is unlikely to contribute to IUGR. Future studies should investigate maternal FGF23, magnesium and protein intake as regulators of fetal growth, particularly in settings where food insecurity and IUGR are public health problems.

Open access

Suma Uday, Ardita Kongjonaj, Magda Aguiar, Ted Tulchinsky, and Wolfgang Högler

Background

Nutritional rickets is a growing global public health concern despite existing prevention programmes and health policies. We aimed to compare infant and childhood vitamin D supplementation policies, implementation strategies and practices across Europe and explore factors influencing adherence.

Methods

European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Bone and Growth Plate Working Group members and other specialists completed a questionnaire on country-specific vitamin D supplementation policy and child health care programmes, socioeconomic factors, policy implementation strategies and adherence. Factors influencing adherence were assessed using Kendall’s tau-b correlation coefficient.

Results

Responses were received from 29 of 30 European countries (97%). Ninety-six per cent had national policies for infant vitamin D supplementation. Supplements are commenced on day 1–5 in 48% (14/29) of countries, day 6–21 in 48% (14/29); only the UK (1/29) starts supplements at 6 months. Duration of supplementation varied widely (6 months to lifelong in at-risk populations). Good (≥80% of infants), moderate (50–79%) and low adherence (<50%) to supplements was reported by 59% (17/29), 31% (9/29) and 10% (3/29) of countries, respectively. UK reported lowest adherence (5–20%). Factors significantly associated with good adherence were universal supplementation independent of feeding mode (P = 0.007), providing information at neonatal unit (NNU) discharge (P = 0.02), financial family support (P = 0.005); monitoring adherence at surveillance visits (P = 0.001) and the total number of factors adopted (P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Good adherence to supplementation is a multi-task operation that works best when parents are informed at birth, all babies are supplemented, and adherence monitoring is incorporated into child health surveillance visits. Implementation strategies matter for delivering efficient prevention policies.

Open access

Guido Zavatta and Bart L Clarke

The first adjunctive hormone therapy for chronic hypoparathyroidism, recombinant human parathyroid hormone (1–84) (rhPTH(1–84)) was approved by the FDA in January 2015. Since the approval of rhPTH(1–84), growing interest has developed in other agents to treat this disorder in both the scientific community and among pharmaceutical companies. For several reasons, conventional therapy with calcium and activated vitamin D supplementation, magnesium supplementation as needed, and occasionally thiazide-type diuretic therapy remains the mainstay of treatment, while endocrinologists and patients are constantly challenged by limitations of conventional treatment. Serum calcium fluctuations, increased urinary calcium, hyperphosphatemia, and a constellation of symptoms that limit mental and physical functioning are frequently associated with conventional therapy. Understanding how conventional treatment and hormone therapy work in terms of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is key to effectively managing chronic hypoparathyroidism. Multiple questions remain regarding the effectiveness of PTH adjunctive therapy in preventing or slowing the onset and progression of the classical complications of hypoparathyroidism, such as chronic kidney disease, calcium-containing kidney stones, cataracts, or basal ganglia calcification. Several studies point toward an improvement in the quality of life during replacement therapy. This review will discuss current clinical and research challenges posed by treatment of chronic hypoparathyroidism.

Key points:

  • Conventional therapy with calcium and activated forms of vitamin D are currently the mainstays of treatment for most patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism.

  • Hormone therapy can be administered through FDA-approved once-daily rhPTH(1–84), or off-label multiple-daily injections of teriparatide. The former is the only FDA-approved drug, with safety and efficacy supported by a randomized placebo-controlled trial and open-label long-term extension trial data.

  • Twice-daily teriparatide has been used in children safely for up to 10 years.

  • New pharmacological options that replace the deficient hormone wi ll likely be available within the next few years.

Open access

Julia Kubiak, Per Medbøe Thorsby, Elena Kamycheva, and Rolf Jorde

Objective

Low serum 25(OH)D levels are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and some of its risk factors. However, in interventional studies, the effects of vitamin D supplementation have been uncertain, possibly due to inclusion of vitamin D-sufficient subjects. Our aim was therefore to examine effects of vitamin D supplementation on CVD risk factors in vitamin D-insufficient subjects.

Design

Double-blinded randomized controlled trial.

Methods

A 4-month interventional study with high-dose vitamin D (100,000 IU loading dose, followed by 20,000 IU/week) or placebo with measurements of blood pressure, lipids (total-, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoproteins A1 and B), and glucose metabolism parameters (blood glucose, HbA1c, serum human receptors for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE), insulin, C-peptide and HOMA-IR).

Results

A total of 422 subjects with mean serum 25(OH)D level 34 nmol/L were included, with 411 subjects completing the study. Serum 25(OH)D levels increased with 56 nmol/L and decreased with 4 nmol/L in the vitamin D and placebo group, respectively. We found no statistically significant differences between the two groups in any of the measured CVD risk factors, except for a minor increase in sRAGE in the vitamin D group. Stratified analyses of subjects with low baseline serum 25(OH)D levels alone, or combined with blood pressure, lipid and HOMA-IR values above the median for the cohort, did not skew the results in favour of vitamin D supplementation.

Conclusion

Supplementation with vitamin D in subjects with baseline vitamin D insufficiency does not improve CVD risk factor profile.

Open access

Rolf Jorde and Guri Grimnes

Objective

In addition to its skeletal effects, vitamin D may also be important for health in general. It is uncertain what level of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), marker of vitamin D status, is sufficient for these effects. With decreasing serum 25(OH)D levels there is an increase in serum PTH. The point at which this occurs has been considered as a threshold for vitamin D sufficiency. The thresholds found have varied widely and have mainly been based on observational studies. However, to truly establish a threshold for vitamin D effects, this has to be based on randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods

The study included 2803 subjects from a general health survey, the Tromsø study, and pooled individual person data from five vitamin D intervention studies (n = 1544). Serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) and change in PTH after vitamin D supplementation were related to serum 25(OH)D levels in steps of 25 nmol/L (<24, 25–49, 50–74, 75–99, and >99 nmol/L).

Results

In the Tromsø study, in the females there was a gradual decrease in serum PTH with increasing serum 25(OH)D with no apparent plateau, whereas in the males the decrease in PTH in subjects with serum 25(OH)D >74 nmol/l was marginal. In pooled RCTs, there was a significant reduction in serum PTH by vitamin D supplementation regardless of baseline serum 25(OH)D level.

Conclusions

The use of the serum PTH–25(OH)D relation from observational studies to determine a threshold for vitamin D sufficiency is highly questionable.

Open access

Iulia Soare, Anca Sirbu, Mihai Mircea Diculescu, Bogdan Radu Mateescu, Cristian Tieranu, Sorina Martin, Carmen Gabriela Barbu, Mirela Ionescu, and Simona Fica

Background and aim

Low bone mineral density (BMD) is a common complication in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, debates are ongoing with regard to the other involved factors, especially in younger patients. This study aimed to evaluate the parameters that contribute to decreased BMD, focusing on premenopausal women and men aged <50 years.

Methods

This study included 81 patients with IBD and 81 age-, sex- and BMI-matched controls. Blood tests were conducted on IBD patients, and a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan was performed on both groups.

Results

Low BMD and fragility fracture were found to be more prevalent in IBD patients than in healthy subjects (49.3% vs 23.4%, P = 0.001 and 9.8% vs 1.2%, P = 0.01, respectively). Patients with low BMD were older, with a longer disease duration, higher faecal calprotectin (FC) levels and lower magnesium and lean mass (appreciated as appendicular skeletal muscle index (ASMI)). Multiple regression analysis revealed that ASMI, age and use of glucocorticoids were the independent parameters for decreased BMD. Although 91.3% of the patients had a 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of <30 ng/mL, it was not a statistically significant factor for decreased BMD.

Conclusion

In our study, the levels of vitamin D did not seem to have an important impact on BMD. Conversely, FC, magnesium and lean mass are important factors, suggesting that good control of disease, adequate magnesium intake and increased lean mass can have a good impact on bone metabolism in patients with IBD.