Study shows vitamin D deficiencies may impact onset of autoimmune lung disease

Jan 04, 2011

A new study shows that vitamin D deficiency could be linked to the development and severity of certain autoimmune lung diseases.

These findings are being reported in the Jan. 4 edition of the journal Chest.

Brent Kinder, MD, UC Health pulmonologist, director of the Interstitial Lung Disease Center at the University of Cincinnati and lead investigator on the study, says deficiencies have been found to affect the development of other autoimmune diseases, like lupus and .

"We wanted to see if lack of sufficient vitamin D would also be seen in patients who are diagnosed with an autoimmune interstitial lung disease (ILD) and whether it was associated with reduced lung function," he says.

Some ILD patients first discover they have an undifferentiated connective tissue disease, a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects multiple organ systems but is not developed enough for physicians to easily recognize and categorize.

occur when the body produces that turn on the body and attack major organs and tissues. Connective tissue diseases include lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis, vasculitis, and Sjogren's syndrome.

"ILD is a group of diseases that mainly affect the tissues of the lungs instead of the airways, like asthma and emphysema do," says Kinder. "It causes scarring of the lungs, is more difficult to diagnosis and treat than other kinds of lung diseases and is often fatal.

"Since has implications for other manifestations of autoimmune illnesses, we wanted to see it had an effect on the lungs of this patient population."

Researchers evaluated 118 patients from the UC ILD Center database—67 with connective tissue disease-related ILD and 51 with other causes of lung fibrosis—for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, which indicate levels of vitamin D in the body. Then, they evaluated associations between these serum levels and the patients' conditions.

Overall, those with connective tissue disease-related ILD were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency—52 percent versus 20 percent—and insufficiency—79 percent versus 31 percent—than other forms of ILD.

Among this same group of patients, reduced serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were strongly associated with reduced lung function.

"These findings suggest that there is a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with ILD, particularly those with connective tissue disease," Kinder says. "Therefore, vitamin D may have a role in the development of connective tissue disease-related ILD and patients' worsening lung function.

"One of the next steps is to see if supplementation will improve lung function for these patients."

He adds that if these findings are confirmed and vitamin D supplementation is shown to be effective in clinical trials, this may also provide a more natural, inexpensive treatment for the illness.

"Vitamin D is known to be a critical dietary factor for bone and skin health," he says. "Now, we're learning that it could potentially be modified as a treatment to improve ILD as opposed to other, more toxic therapies."

Explore further: Overwhelmed west Africa ramps up Ebola response

Provided by University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rare lung disease cells indicate higher death risk

Jan 16, 2008

Large numbers of certain cells in the lungs of patients diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may increase their chance of death, University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers have discovered.

Vitamin D deficiency linked to lung transplant rejection

Oct 18, 2010

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a significant increase in lung transplant rejection, according to research conducted at Loyola University Health System (LUHS). These data were presented Monday at The American Society ...

New system for classifying infant lung disease developed

Nov 30, 2007

A new classification system of rare lung diseases in infants is improving diagnosis and treatment. The system clears up considerable confusion about how to classify and treat diseases that are rarely seen by most doctors ...

Weekly and biweekly vitamin D2 prevents vitamin D deficiency

Oct 26, 2009

Boston University School of Medicine researchers (BUSM) have found that 50,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D2, given weekly for eight weeks, effectively treats vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D2 is a mainstay for the ...

Recommended for you

Overwhelmed west Africa ramps up Ebola response

10 hours ago

West Africa intensified its response to the deadly Ebola epidemic on Sunday, with Sierra Leone uncovering scores of dead bodies during a 72-hour shutdown and Liberia announcing hundreds of new hospital beds.

Sierra Leone reaches final day of Ebola lockdown

13 hours ago

Frustrated residents complained of food shortages in some neighborhoods of Sierra Leone's capital on Sunday as the country reached the third and final day of a sweeping, unprecedented lockdown designed to ...

Sierra Leone faces criticism over Ebola shutdown

Sep 20, 2014

Sierra Leone began the second day of a 72-hour nationwide shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus on Saturday amid criticism that the action was a poorly planned publicity stunt.

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

User comments : 0