Analytical measurement and clinical relevance of vitamin D(3) C3-epimer

Clin Biochem. 2013 Feb;46(3):190-6. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2012.10.037. Epub 2012 Nov 12.


With an ever-increasing clinical interest in vitamin D insufficiency, numerous automated immunoassays, protein binding assays, and in-house LC-MS/MS methods are being developed for the quantification of 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) (25(OH)D(3)). Recently, LC-MS/MS methods have identified an epimeric form of 25(OH)D(3) that has been shown to contribute significantly to 25(OH)D(3) concentration, particularly in infant populations. This review describes the metabolic pathway and physiological functions of 3-epi-vitamin D, compares the capability of various 25(OH)D(3) methods to detect the epimer, and highlights recent publications quantifying 3-epi-25(OH)D(3) in infant, pediatric, and adult populations. In total, this review summarizes the information necessary for clinicians and laboratorians to decide whether or not to report/consider the C3-epimer in the analysis and clinical assessment of vitamin D status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Calcifediol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Calcifediol / analysis*
  • Calcifediol / metabolism
  • Calcitriol / analysis
  • Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Clinical Chemistry Tests / methods
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D3 24-Hydroxylase


  • Steroid Hydroxylases
  • Vitamin D3 24-Hydroxylase
  • Calcitriol
  • Calcifediol
  • Calcium