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Open access

Elena Valassi, Natalia García-Giralt, Jorge Malouf, Iris Crespo, Jaume Llauger, Adolfo Díez-Pérez, and Susan M Webb


Biochemical control of GH/IGF-I excess in acromegaly (ACRO) is associated with persistent impairment of trabecular microstructure leading to increased risk of vertebral fractures. Circulating miRNAs modulate the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, and may be potential biomarkers of osteoporosis.


Identify differentially expressed miRNAs in the serum of patients with controlled ACRO vs controls and correlate miRNA levels with both biochemical and structural bone parameters.

Patients and methods

Twenty-seven patients with controlled ACRO (11 males, 16 females; mean age, 48 ± 5 years; BMI, 28 ± 4 kg/m2) and 27 age-, gender- and BMI-matched controls were recruited. Areal BMD at lumbar spine and femur, and trabecular bone score were assessed; volumetric BMD was measured by quantitative computed tomography QCT-Pro (Mindways). Twenty miRNAs, chosen by their putative role in bone, were quantified in serum using real-time qPCR.


In ACRO patients, miR-103a-3p and miR-191-5p were found overexpressed, whereas miR-660-5p was underexpressed (P < 0.001). miR-103a-3p levels were negatively associated with both trabecular vBMD at trochanter and serum osteoprotegerin concentrations (P < 0.05) and positively with vitamin D concentrations (P < 0.01) and total cross-sectional area of the femoral neck (P < 0.05). miR-660-5p levels were correlated with both trabecular vBMD at trochanter and OPG concentrations (P < 0.05), but were negatively associated with vitamin D levels (P < 0.05). A negative correlation between miR-103-a-3p and miR-660-5p was found in both groups (P < 0.001).


Circulating miR-103a-3p and miR-660-5p are differentially expressed in controlled ACRO patients and associated with bone structural parameters. miRNAs may be one of the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of bone disease and could be used as biomarkers in ACRO patients.

Open access

Kevin D Cashman


Internationally, concern has been repeatedly raised about the little notable progress in the collection, analysis and use of population micronutrient status and deficiency data globally. The need for representative status and intake data for vitamin D has been highlighted as a research priority for well over a decade.

Aim and methods

A narrative review which aims to provide a summary and assessment of vitamin D nutritional status data globally. This review divides the world into the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) major regions: the Americas, Europe, Oceania, Africa and Asia. Emphasis was placed on published data on the prevalence of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) < 25/30 and <50 nmol/L (reflecting vitamin D deficiency and inadequacy, respectively) as well as vitamin D intake, where possible from nationally representative surveys.


Collating data from the limited number of available representative surveys from individual countries might suggest a relatively low overall prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in South America, Oceania and North America, whereas there is more moderate prevalence in Europe and Asia, and possibly Africa. Overall, the prevalence of serum 25(OH)D < 25/30 and <50 nmol/L ranges from ~5 to 18% and 24 to 49%, respectively, depending on FAO world region. Usual intakes of vitamin D can also vary by FAO world region, but in general, with a few exceptions, there are very high levels of inadequacy of vitamin D intake.


While the burden of vitamin D deficiency and inadequacy varies by world regions and not just by UVB availability, the global burden overall translates into enormous numbers of individuals at risk.

Open access

Amarjit Saini, Linda Björkhem-Bergman, Johan Boström, Mats Lilja, Michael Melin, Karl Olsson, Lena Ekström, Peter Bergman, Mikael Altun, Eric Rullman, and Thomas Gustafsson

The CC genotype of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphism TaqI rs731236 has previously been associated with a higher risk of developing myopathy compared to TT carriers. However, the mechanistic role of this polymorphism in skeletal muscle is not well defined. The effects of vitamin D on patients genotyped for the VDR polymorphism TaqI rs731236, comparing CC and TT carriers were evaluated. Primary human myoblasts isolated from 4 CC carriers were compared with myoblasts isolated from four TT carriers and treated with vitamin D in vitro. A dose-dependent inhibitory effect on myoblast proliferation and differentiation was observed concurrent with modifications of key myogenic regulatory factors. RNA sequencing revealed a vitamin D dose–response gene signature enriched with a higher number of VDR-responsive elements (VDREs) per gene. Interestingly, the greater the expression of muscle differentiation markers in myoblasts, the more pronounced was the vitamin D-mediated response to suppress genes associated with myogenic fusion and myotube formation. This novel finding provides a mechanistic explanation to the inconsistency regarding previous reports of the role of vitamin D in myoblast differentiation. No effects in myoblast proliferation, differentiation or gene expression were related to CC vs TT carriers. Our findings suggest that the VDR polymorphism TaqI rs731236 comparing CC vs TT carriers did not influence the effects of vitamin D on primary human myoblasts and that vitamin D inhibits myoblast proliferation and differentiation through key regulators of cell cycle progression. Future studies need to employ strategies to identify the primary responses of vitamin D that drive the cellular response towards quiescence.

Open access

Jennifer K. Y. Ko, Jinghua Shi, Raymond H. W. Li, William S. B. Yeung, and Ernest H. Y. Ng

Objective: Vitamin D receptors are present in the female reproductive tract. Studies on the association between serum vitamin D level and pregnancy rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) showed inconsistent results and focused on a single fresh or frozen embryo transfer cycle. The objective of our study was to evaluate if serum vitamin D level before ovarian stimulation was associated with the cumulative live birth rate (CLBR) of the first IVF cycle.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Methods: Women who underwent the first IVF cycle from 2012 to 2016 at a university-affiliated reproductive medicine center were included. Archived serum samples taken before ovarian stimulation were analyzed for 25(OH)D levels using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Results: 1,113 had pregnancy outcome from the completed IVF cycle. The median age (25th-75th percentile) of the women was 36 (34-38) years and serum 25(OH)D level was 53.4 (41.9-66.6)nmol/L. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (less than 50nmol/L) was 42.2%. The CLBR in the vitamin D deficient group was significantly lower compared to the non-deficient group (43.9%,208/474 vs 50.9%,325/639, p=0.021, unadjusted), and after controlling for women’s age, body mass index, antral follicle count, type and duration of infertility. There were no differences in the clinical/ongoing pregnancy rate, live birth rate and miscarriage rate in the fresh cycle between the vitamin D deficient and non-deficient groups.

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency was prevalent in infertile women in subtropical Hong Kong. The CLBR of the first IVF cycle in the vitamin D deficient group was significantly lower compared to the non-deficient group.

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

S Westra, Y H M Krul-Poel, H J van Wijland, M M ter Wee, F Stam, P Lips, F Pouwer, and S Simsek


Increased levels of depressive symptoms, fatigue or pain (all dimensions of reduced health-related quality of life (HRQOL)) are common in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Earlier studies have reported associations between low vitamin D status and fatigue and depressive symptoms. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of vitamin D supplementation on dimensions of HRQOL in people with type 2 DM.


Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.


The effect of monthly cholecalciferol 50,000 IU vs placebo on HRQOL was assessed in 275 adults with type 2 DM derived from general practices. HRQOL at baseline and after six months using the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) was collected. Linear regression analyses were used to compare the change in HRQOL over time between the vitamin D and placebo group.


187/275 (68%) completed baseline and follow-up SF-36 and were included in the analysis. Median serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D almost doubled in the intervention group compared to that in the placebo group (58.5–106.0 nmol/L vs 60.0–61.5 nmol/L, respectively). A small significant difference (adjusted B: −8.90; 95% CI: −17.16 to −0.65) between both groups was seen concerning the SF-36 domain role limitations due to physical problems in disadvantage of the vitamin D group.


Six months of vitamin D supplementation did not improve HRQOL in non-vitamin D-deficient people with type 2 DM managed on oral antidiabetic therapy.

Open access

Göran Oleröd, Lillemor Mattsson Hultén, Ola Hammarsten, and Eva Klingberg


Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D [25(OH)D] varies greatly with season at northern latitudes. The purpose of this study was to determine if the seasonal variations in serum total 25(OH)D are followed by a concomitant variation in free 25(OH)D or if the variation is damped by alterations in the binding capacity of DBP.


Serum was collected from 540 healthy blood donors (60% men; mean age 41 ± 13 years) during 12 months and analyzed for total 25(OH)D, directly measured free 25(OH)D, vitamin D-binding protein (DBP) and albumin. Calculated free 25(OH)D was estimated.


The UV-B radiation during the sampling month was positively correlated with the serum levels of total 25(OH)D (r = 0.355, P < 0.001), directly measured free (r = 0.336, P < 0.001) and calculated free 25(OH)D (r = 0.275, P < 0.001), but not with DBP and albumin. The percentage of free 25(OH)D was higher during the winter months than that during the summer months (0.020 ± 0.005% vs 0.019 ± 0.004%; P = 0.007) and higher in participants with a serum 25(OH)D below 25 nmol/L than that in participants with a serum 25(OH)D above 75 nmol/L (0.031 ± 0.007% vs 0.017 ± 0.003%; P < 0.001). iPTH was correlated with directly measured free 25(OH)D (r = −0.226; P < 0.001), but only weakly with calculated free 25(OH)D (r = −0.095; P = 0.027).


Directly measured free serum 25(OH)D was highly correlated with total serum 25(OH)D and followed the same seasonal variation, whereas the serum concentrations of DBP and albumin were stable. The fluctuation in free 25(OH)D was only marginally damped with an increase in the percentage of free 25(OH)D during the winter months and in participants with vitamin D deficiency.

Open access

Bingbing Wang, Mayra Cruz Ithier, Nataliya Parobchak, Stacy M Yadava, Jay Schulkin, and Todd Rosen

Maternal vitamin D deficiency is linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes including spontaneous preterm birth (SPB). Placental corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) has been proposed to be part of a clock that governs the length of gestation in humans, with elevated maternal serum levels predicting early delivery. In this study, we test the hypothesis that vitamin D could contribute to the prevention of preterm labor by inhibiting CRH and other pro-labor mediators. The biological activity of vitamin D occurs via two pathways: non-genomic and genomic responses, both of which involve binding of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D), the active metabolite of vitamin D binding to the vitamin D receptor (VDR). By using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq), we found that 1,25(OH)2D stimulates association of VDR with a number of miRNA genes including MIR181B2 and MIR26B, and their mature products miR-181b-5p and miR-26b-5p are predicted to target CRH and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA at 3′-untranslated region (UTR), respectively. We performed RT-qPCR analysis to validate that expression of mature miR-181b-5p and miR-26b-5p in term human syncytiotrophoblast increased in response to treatment with 1,25(OH)2D. miR-181b-5p- or miR-26b-5p-mediated inhibition of CRH or COX-2 was further assessed by the use of miRNA mimics/inhibitors and a luciferase reporter assay. Taken together, this study has identified novel mechanisms by which vitamin D downregulates pro-labor genes and could lower the risk of preterm delivery.

Open access

Ann R Webb, Rehab Alghamdi, Richard Kift, and Lesley E Rhodes

A systematic review of publications addressing change in vitamin D status (25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD)) after exposure to UV radiation identified 2001 independent peer-reviewed publications. Of these, 21 used artificial sources of UV radiation, met all inclusion criteria and were quality assured; 13 publications used solar radiation and met sufficient inclusion criteria to be retained as supporting evidence; 1 further included publication used both solar and artificial sources. The review consistently identified that low dose, sub-erythemal doses are more effective for vitamin D synthesis than doses close to a minimum erythema dose; increasing skin area exposed increases the amount of vitamin D synthesised although not necessarily in a linear manner; constant dosing leads to a dose-dependent plateau in 25OHD, and dose–response is greatest at the start of a dosing regime; there is a large interpersonal variation in response to UV exposure. Fourteen of the studies using artificial sources of radiation were used to determine a dose–response relationship for change in 25OHD on whole-body exposure to repeated sub-erythemal doses of UV radiation, taking the form Δ25OHD (nmol/L) = A ln(standard vitamin D dose) + B. This helps quantify our understanding of UV as a source of vitamin D and enables exposure regimes for safe synthesis of vitamin D to be assessed. Specific studies of people with pigmented skin (Fitzpatrick skin types 5 and 6) were rare, and this dose–response relationship is only applicable to white-skinned individuals as skin type is a determinant of response to UV radiation. Findings provide information for vitamin D guidance updates.

Open access

Gunjan Garg, Garima Kachhawa, Rekha Ramot, Rajesh Khadgawat, Nikhil Tandon, V Sreenivas, Alka Kriplani, and N Gupta

To assess the effect of vitamin D supplementation on parameters of insulin sensitivity/resistance (IS/IR) and insulin secretion in subjects with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). A prospective double-blind randomized control trial was conducted to assess the effect of vitamin D on insulin kinetics in women with PCOS. The trial was conducted in a tertiary care research hospital. A total of 36 subjects with PCOS, aged 18–35 years, were included in this study. Vitamin D3 4000 IU/day versus placebo was given once a month for 6 months and both groups received metformin. IS (by whole-body IS index or Matsuda index), IR (by homeostasis model assessment IR (HOMA-IR)), and insulin secretion (by insulinogenic index; II30) were the main outcome measures. Secondary outcome included blood pressure (BP), lipid profile, disposition index (DI), and vascular stiffness. Out of 36 subjects who consented, 32 completed the study. Subjects were randomized into two groups: group A (n=15; metformin and vitamin D 4000 IU/day) or group B (n=17; metformin and placebo). Oral glucose tolerance tests with 75 g glucose were carried out at baseline and 6 months after supplementation. Hypovitaminosis D was observed in 93.8% of all subjects with mean serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D level of 7.30±4.45 ng/ml. After 6 months of vitamin D supplementation, there was no significant difference in any of the parameters of IS/IR (area under curve (AUC)–glucose, AUC–insulin, insulin:glucose ratio, HOMA-IR, Matsuda index, insulinogenic index, and DI), II30, and cardiovascular risk factors between the two groups. Supplementation of vitamin D, at a dose of 4000 IU/day for 6 months, did not have any significant effect on parameters of IS/IR and insulin secretion in subjects with PCOS.