Vitamin D deficiency in systemic lupus erythematosus

Autoimmun Rev. 2006 Feb;5(2):114-7. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2005.05.009. Epub 2005 Jun 21.


Evidence from animal models and prospective studies of RA, multiple sclerosis, and type-1 diabetes suggest an important role for vitamin D as a modifiable environmental factor in autoimmune disease. This role has not been well studied in human SLE. We compared serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels between recently diagnosed SLE cases and matched controls, and examined disease characteristics in relationship to 25(OH)D among cases. Data from a population-based cohort of 123 recently diagnosed SLE patients and 240 controls were used. We found a trend toward lower 25(OH)D levels in cases compared to controls, which was statistically significant in Caucasians (p=0.04), controlling for age, sex, season, and smoking. Overall, 67% of the subjects were vitamin D deficient, with mean levels significantly lower among African Americans (15.9 ng/ml) compared to Caucasians (31.3 ng/ml). Critically low vitamin D levels (<10 ng/ml) were found in 22 of the SLE cases, with presence of renal disease being the strongest predictor (OR 13.3, p<0.01) followed by photosensitivity (OR 12.9, p<0.01). These results suggest vitamin D deficiency as a possible risk factor for SLE and provide guidance for future studies looking at a potential role of vitamin D in the prevention and/or treatment of SLE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / ethnology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / etiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D