The Murakami Cohort Study of vitamin D for the prevention of musculoskeletal and other age-related diseases: a study protocol

Environ Health Prev Med. 2018 Jun 26;23(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s12199-018-0715-2.


Background: Age-related musculoskeletal diseases are becoming increasingly burdensome in terms of both individual quality of life and medical cost. We intended to establish a large population-based cohort study to determine environmental, lifestyle, and genetic risk factors of musculoskeletal and other age-related diseases, and to clarify the association between vitamin D status and such diseases.

Methods: We targeted 34,802 residents aged 40-74 years living in areas of northern Niigata Prefecture, including Sekikawa Village, Awashimaura Village, and Murakami City (Murakami region). The baseline questionnaire survey, conducted between 2011 and 2013, queried respondents on their lifestyle and environmental factors (predictors), and self-reported outcomes. Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentration, an indicator of vitamin D status, was determined with the Liaison® 25OH Vitamin D Total Assay. The primary outcome of this study was osteoporotic fracture; other outcomes included age-related diseases including knee osteoarthritis, perception of chronic pain, dementia, and long-term care insurance use. Mean ages of men and women were 59.2 (SD = 9.3, N = 6907) and 59.0 (SD = 9.3, N = 7457) years, respectively. From the blood samples provided by 3710 men and 4787 women, mean 25(OH)D concentrations were 56.5 (SD = 18.4) nmol/L (22.6 ng/mL) and 45.4 (SD = 16.5) nmol/L (18.2 ng/mL), respectively.

Discussion: Follow-up surveys are planned every 5 years for 15 years, and incident cases of our targeted diseases will be followed at hospitals and clinics in and nearby the cohort area. We anticipate that we will be able to clarify the association between vitamin D status and multiple disease outcomes in a Japanese population.

Keywords: Cohort studies; Dementia; Musculoskeletal diseases; Osteoporotic fractures; Vitamin D.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Cohort Studies
  • Epidemiologic Research Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood*


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D