Background/aims: Vitamin D has been investigated for many non-skeletal effects. The objective of this study was to determine whether circulating lipids, systemic inflammation, and biomarkers of endothelial cell activation varied with the vitamin D status of older Australians.
Methods: One hundred and one participants were proportionately and randomly sampled across tertiles of 25 hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) from a larger cohort of free living older adults (T1 median = 97; T2 median = 74.5; T3 median = 56.8 nmol/L). Overnight fasting blood samples were assayed for 25(OH)D, parathyroid hormone (PTH), insulin, triacylglycerol (TAG), total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Markers of systemic inflammation (high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)) and endothelial activation (hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), P-selectin and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule (sVCAM), soluble intracellular adhesion molecule (sICAM)) were determined. A general linear model multivariate analysis with a backward elimination procedure was performed.
Results: Eighty-three participants (48 women, 35 men), aged 65 ± 7.7 years, BMI 28 ± 4.5 kg/m², with complete data were analyzed. The final parsimonious model controlled for age, gender, BMI, and McAuley's index, but excluded season, medications, and PTH. There were significant differences across 25(OH)D tertiles in TC (T1 < T3, p = 0.003; T2 < T3, p = 0.001), LDL-C (T1 < T3, p = 0.005; T2 < T3, p = 0.001), TAG (T2 < T3, p = 0.026), HGF (T1 > T3, p = 0.009) and sVCAM (T1 > T3, P = 0.04).
Conclusions: Higher vitamin D status may protect the endothelium through reduced dyslipidaemia and increased HGF.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; endothelial function; inflammation; lipids; vitamin D.