Vitamin D metabolites as clinical markers in autoimmune and chronic disease

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Sep:1173:384-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04875.x.


Recent research has implicated vitamin D deficiency (serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D <50 nmol/L) with a number of chronic conditions, including autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and psoriasis, and chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It has been assumed that low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-D) accurately indicate vitamin D storage and vitamin D receptor (VDR)-mediated control of calcium metabolism and innate immunity. To evaluate this assumption, 25-D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-D) levels were measured in 100 Canadian patients with these conditions. Additionally, other inflammatory markers (CK, CRP) were measured. Results showed a strong positive association between these autoimmune conditions and levels of 1,25-D >110 pmol/L. However, there was little association with vitamin D deficiency or the other inflammatory markers, meaning that the results challenge the assumption that serum levels of 25-D are a sensitive measure of the autoimmune disease state. Rather, these findings support the use of 1,25-D as a clinical marker in autoimmune conditions. High levels of 1,25-D may result when dysregulation of the VDR by bacterial ligands prevents the receptor from expressing enzymes necessary to keep 1,25-D in a normal range.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autoimmune Diseases / blood
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Calcitriol / blood*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / blood
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis
  • Osteoarthritis / blood
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis / blood
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis
  • Psoriasis / blood
  • Psoriasis / diagnosis
  • Radioimmunoassay / methods
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Calcitriol