Influence of cholecalciferol supplementation in hemodialysis patients on monocyte subsets: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Nephron Clin Pract. 2013;123(3-4):209-19. doi: 10.1159/000354717. Epub 2013 Aug 29.


Background/aims: Although most hemodialysis patients share a significant 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] deficiency, supplementation is controversially discussed. A potential influence on monocyte and T lymphocyte dysfunction advocates blood level-adapted supplementation as recommended by K/DOQI guidelines. This was a prospective double-blind randomized placebo controlled trial examining immune effects of 12 weeks of cholecalciferol supplementation.

Methods: We initiated serum level-adapted de novo cholecalciferol supplementation in 38 hemodialysis patients. Outcome measures were: monocyte subset cell counts (CD14+CD16++ vs. CD14++CD16+ vs. CD14++CD16-), lymphocyte Th1/Th2 differentiation frequencies, serum inflammatory proteins CRP and TNFα, parathyroid hormone (PTH), FGF-23, and α-Klotho.

Results: At baseline, the mean 25(OH)D serum level in the study population was 31.7 ± 14.3 nmol/l, and only 3% of patients had levels within the normal range. At 12 weeks, 25(OH)D levels were normalized in the verum group (87.8 ± 22.3 vs. placebo 24.6 ± 8.0 nmol/l, p < 0.0001). In parallel, 1,25(OH)2D levels increased in the verum group. Monocyte subset cell counts as well as Th1 and Th2 lymphocyte frequencies did not change significantly after 12 weeks of cholecalciferol supplementation. There was also no significant difference in PTH, alkaline phosphatase, calcium, phosphate, TNFα, FGF-23, α-Klotho and CRP levels.

Conclusions: Oral cholecalciferol supplementation according to the K/DOQI recommendations normalizes 25(OH)D levels without relevant side effects such as hyperphosphatemia or hypercalcemia. However, beneficial pleiotropic effects on monocyte subset cell counts, T cell differentiation, or cytokine production could not be confirmed at least at the used dosage. PTH and FGF23 levels were not affected during cholecalciferol administration.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Cholecalciferol / administration & dosage*
  • Cholecalciferol / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / cytology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Th1 Cells / cytology
  • Th2 Cells / cytology
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • FGF23 protein, human
  • Vitamin D
  • Cholecalciferol
  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D