Vitamin D Filomena Vieira

Vitamin D Deficiency in Neuromyelitis Optica

Vitamin D3 is a prohormone produced by the action of ultra violet rays (UV) in the skin, taking as its starting point the 7-dehydrocholesterol. It is metabolized into 25-hydroxyvitamin, 25 (OH) D3, in the liver and converted to the active form 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin 1,25(OH)2D3 in the kidney.

The greatest impact of vitamin D on human health, besides being regulator of calcium homeostasis, is the activation of the immune system and the control and suppression of autoimmune disease.

The Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) is a disease of the central nervous system, autoimmune, affecting the optic nerve and spinal cord. Studies in transverse myelitis show that this disease may be related to hypovitaminosis D.

Is it the same in the NMO cases?

In response to this issue the journal PLoS ONE published the first study on the NMO, which ran from 2006 to 2012, with 51 patients and including a control group of 204 healthy subjects.

The researchers have shown that vitamin D was significantly lower in patients with NMO, than in the control group.

The levels of this vitamin, was not different by gender, age, body mass index or year season. The medication with prednisolone did not affect levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency is related to the aggressiveness of the disease and the physical disability.

The NMO is distinct from multiple sclerosis (MS) whether in the clinic, radiology, serological tests of the spinal cord and epidemiology. The prevalence of MS is higher in high latitude regions where solar radiation is low what suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be a risk to MS. In contrast, with NMO there were not observed any geographical variations in incidence or prevalence.

The vitamin D deficiency associated with worse clinical outcomes implies that Vitamin D may have a modulator effect on the development of NMO and supplementation may have additional therapeutic benefits.

Min J-H, Waters P, Vincent A, Cho H-J, Joo B-E, et al. (2014) Low Levels of Vitamin D in Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder: Association with Disease Disability. PLoS ONE 9(9): e107274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107274

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