Correlation between vitamin D and alterations in MRI among patients with multiple sclerosis

Ann Agric Environ Med. 2021 Sep 16;28(3):372-377. doi: 10.26444/aaem/127062. Epub 2020 Sep 17.


Introduction: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of unknown etiology. Diagnosis of MS is primarily based on detection of myelin damage by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and classification of demyelination according to the McDonald Criteria. Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) has been shown to affect the onset and progression of MS via its immunomodulating properties. The role of vitamin D in MS pathogenesis and treatment deserves further investigation, as there is sufficient evidence to suggest a correlation between vitamin D blood level and brain MRI lesion load.

State of knowledge: Elevated blood vitamin D concentration is linked with demyelination, as determined by T2-weighted and gadolinium-enhanced MRI. Blood vitamin D blood levels are affected by sun exposure, among other factors; however, there is no evident connection between abnormalities in myelination and seasonality. Vitamin D supplementation among MS patients has been associated with a lower probability of new lesions and loss of existing lesion volume, as observed seen in T1-weighted MRI scans (p=0.03). An increase in TGF-beta levels was noted among patients using vitamin D supplementation, which may suggest a mechanism by which cholecalciferol may improve MS prognosis. Patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) exhibited an inverse correlation between vitamin D concentration and risk of new lesions as seen in T2-weighted MRI scans. Moreover, vitamin D intake among these patients lowered the risk of progression to clinically definite multiple sclerosis (CDMS). Daily intake of vitamin D during fingolimod treatment correlated strongly with lower numbers of new lesions. High dose vitamin D supplementation during interferon beta-1a treatment was linked to lower mean percentage of lesions compared with volume pre-treatment seen by T2-weighted MRI.

Results: Recent findings advocate for the monitoring of vitamin D blood levels in MS patients. Vitamin D supplementation should be considered in both MS patients and patients with CIS, where other signs of disease may be delayed. Moreover, vitamin D supplementation appears to lower the likelihood of new demyelination changes apparent in MRI examinations.

Keywords: CIS; MRI; Multiple sclerosis; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / blood*


  • Vitamin D