Both vitamin D and collagen have roles in osteocartilaginous homeostasis. We evaluated the association between the circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) type I and II collagen degradation products (CTx-I, and CTx-II), and four vitamin D receptor gene (VDR) polymorphisms, in Italian males affected by low back pain (LBP) due to herniation/discopathy and/or vertebral osteochondrosis. FokI, BsmI, ApaI, and TaqI VDR-polymorphisms were detected through PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), and circulating 25(OH)D, CTx-I and CTx-II were measured by immunoassays in 79 patients (of which 26 had osteochondrosis) and 79 age-, sex- and body mass index (BMI)-matched healthy controls. Among all 158 subjects, carriers of FF and Ff genotypes showed lower 25(OH)D than ff, which suggested a higher depletion of vitamin D in F allele carriers. Higher CTx-I concentrations were observed in TT versus Tt among controls, and Tt versus tt among LBP cases, which suggested a higher bone-cartilaginous catabolism in subjects bearing the T allele. Higher CTx-II concentrations were observed in patients with osteochondrosis bearing FF, bb, TT, or Aa genotypes in comparison with hernia/discopathy patients and healthy controls. Vertebral osteochondrosis shows peculiar genotypic and biochemical features related to vitamin D and the osteocartilaginous metabolism. Vitamin D has roles in the pathophysiology of osteochondrosis.
Keywords: Italian males; VDR polymorphisms; adult vertebral osteochondrosis; type II collagen.