[Vitamin D in autoimmun disorders: the immunregulatory effect of vitamin D and therapeutic opportunities]


DECEMBER 28, 2009

Ca&Bone - 2009;12(03)

[There is recent evidence that genetic and environmental factors play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the environmental factors that may play a role in developing autoimmune diseases. Low vitamin D status has been implicated in the etiology of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, inzulin dependent diabetes mellitus, and inflammatory bowel disease. Experimentally, vitamin D deficiency results in an increased incidence of autoimmune disease. The authors discuss the accumulating evidence pointing to a link between vitamin D and autoimmunity. The optimal level of vitamin D intake is necessary to normalize the immune functions and it plays an important role in the development of self-tolerance. Targets for vitamin D in the immune system have been identified and the mechanism of vitamin D mediated immunoregulation is beginning to be understood. On the basic of recent knowledge, vitamin D causes a decrease in Th1-driven autoimmune response and repairs the function of regulatory T cells. Increased vitamin D intakes might decrease the incidence and severity of autoimmune diseases.]



Further articles in this publication


[Modelling of burden of femoral neck fracture from purchaser’s point of view]


[OBJECTIVE - This study provides a model of the treatment cost of femoral neck fracture and financial burden of the annual fracture cases at 2009 financial level from health insurance point of view. METHOD - The costs of the treatment of femoral neck fractures are modelled according to the actually OEP reimbursed types of care including acute inpatient care, chronic inpatient care, outpatient care, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, home care (nursing), cost of travelling or transport and the disability to work. Cases healing following primary treatment (without complications) and cases with complications are examined separately. The costs of most common complications with large surgical operation are calculated. RESULTS - The cost of patients in active age-groups cured by primary treatment can vary in a range of 1.010.110- 1.479.034 HUF depending on cost level of individual care and utilization, while the cost of patients in retired agegroups (pensioners) can vary in a range 635.350- 1.104.274 HUF. The cost of patients with complication (primary treatment and complication) in active agegroups can reach. 1 858.438-3.133.096 HUF depending on cost level of individual care and utilization, while the cost of patients in retired age-groups (pensioners) can reach 1.108.918-2.383.576 HUF. According to our model calculations, the cost of primary treatment of femoral neck fractures and essential further treatment represents an annual burden of 4.373.857.668-6.247.717.438 HUF for the health insurance system. CONCLUSION - In order to reduce the incidence of hip fractures one should emphasize the importance of current and future interventions, which projects the possibility of reducing the financial burden at societal level. The analysis of financial burden could serve as a base for health-economics studies, by elaborating a cost-effective strategy supported by professional and political decision makers.]


[Forthcoming Congresses]





[Hip fractures in Hungary between 2001 and 2008 - Assessment of the beneficial effect of bisphosphonates on the risk of hip fractures on the basis of Hungarian data]

HÉJJ Gábor

[The overall prevalence of osteoporosis in developed countries is estimated to be 9-15%. Mortality in the first year after the fracture is 15-20%, and half of the survivors remain partly or fully dependent on others’ support. Owing to the increasing life expectance and the diseases of civilisation, the incidence of osteoporotic fractures is expected to double in the next thirty years. The network of centers that has been developed since 1995 under the National Osteoporosis Program and the accreditation system of the National Osteoporosis Center provided up-to-date education of the physicians (densitometry assistants) who work within the network. The diagnostic restrictions followed by the reduction of support to 70% since 2006 fall resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of treated patients.]


[The risk factors of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures in Hungarian women: the results of the NOKK study]

MEZŐ Tibor, TABÁK Ádám, BHATTOA Harjit Pál, LAKATOS Péter

[INTRODUCTION - It is widely accepted from Western European and the US studies that race and geography significantly affect the risk for osteoporosis. Less is known about similar associations in Eastern European subjects. Our aim was to describe the risk factors for osteoporotic fractures and osteoporosis in a selected female population in a cross-sectional, multi-center study performed under the guidance of the Hungarian Society for osteoporosis and Osteoarthrology. MATERIAL AND METHOD - From 10 randomly selected regional osteoporosis centers, altogether 2602 women >18 years of age, referred with any osteoarthrological reason, participated. During their visit data on risk factors, blood pressure, anthropometry, and bone mineral density were collected. RESULTS - Using multiple regression we found that older age, lower diastolic blood pressure, family history of bone fracture, fall in previous year and lower T-score were independently related to fractures. Independent risk factors for femoral osteoporosis included older age, lower weight, family history of fracture, less physical activity, fall in the previous year and glucocorticoid treatment. DISCUSSION - Our study is the first large-scale epidemiological survey describing risk factors of osteoporosis and fractures in a Hungarian female population. Our data may suggest that lower diastolic blood pressure might be related to osteoporotic fractures.]

All articles in the issue

Related contents

LAM Extra for General Practicioners



[The effects of vitamin D in bone health have been known since the 1920s. Recently, it has been proven that its role in the body is much more complex. Activated vitamin D is a steroid hormone that regulates transcription of more than 200 human genes through its receptor that is detectable in almost all types of cells. In contrast to the former conceptions, it can be activated not only in the kidneys; moreover, local 1-α-hydroxylation plays a greater role in its extraskeletal effects. Vitamin D deficiency, currently defined as serum levels of <30 ng/ml, is caused by the lack of ‘effective’ sunlight exposition. Thus, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most frequent deficiencies in the developed world that plays a role not only in the development of skeletal conditions but many other diseases, as well. A low vitamin D level causes a reduced calcium absorption, a higher bone remodelling rate and increased bone loss. It also reduces muscle strength and increases the risk of falling. Normal vitamin D status is required for the effectiveness of drugs for osteoporosis treatment; however vitamin D treatment in itself is not effective in osteoporosis. An increasing number of studies show the benefits of vitamin D supplementation and treatment in extraskeletal conditions. Vitamin D plays an important role in the prevention of several auto-immune diseases, infections, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers. Therefore, all UV-B radiation-deprived adults require an intake of vitamin D to maintain a level of >30 ng/ml. Vitamin D3 treatment is safe. The necessary dose can be reliably approximated by the calculation that an incremental consumption of 100 IU/day raises serum vitamin levels by 1,0 ng/ml. Clinical trials suggest that for the vast majority of individuals, a prolonged intake of 10,000 IU/day does not pose any risk.]


[Osteoporotic patient’s use of prescription drugs - pilot study]


[BACKGROUND - In Hungary, the number of the highest mortality hip fractures is between 12 000-15 000 per year. The cost of treating hip fractures is several times higher than that of preventive medical therapy. Thus, the compliance of patients with osteoporosis is of great importance. METHODS - Using the informatical database of St. András Rheumatology Hospital at Héviz, we collected one year’s prescription drugs for osteoporosis and compared them with the number of drugs obtained by the patients, determined from National Health Insurance data. RESULTS - In general, the patients obtained 75% of prescription drugs. From the 4354 boxes of prescribed antiporotics, 3637 contained bisphosphonate (not considering vitamin D and calcium). Within this group, 88% of combination preparations were obtained, which is a greater ratio than that of non-combination bisphosphonates (84%). CONCLUSIONS - On the basis of our results, we posit that prescription of a combination preparation somewhat improves the patients’ compliance. The low concordance of vitamin D and calcium preparations is worrying.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[The impact of the vitamin D in neurological diseases and neurorehabilitation: from demencia to multiple sclerosis. Part I: The role of the vitamin D in the prevetion and treatment of multiple sclerosis]


[The world-wide incidence of vitamin D deficiency is high, independently of age. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disorder, occuring in those who possess or are exposed to a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors. One of the environmental factors associated with the development is vitamin D. Vitamin D is an immunomodulatory agent, its role is verified in many of autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D inhibits IL-6, IL-17 and IL-23 secretions which are crucial in Th1 and Th17 differentiation and also decreases proinflammatorical cytokine production. Moreover it enhances the immunosuppressive IL-10 cytokine secretion and inhibits the T-reg cell development. These cytokines and cells are essential for the pathomechanism of multiple sclerosis. Data have shown, that the vitamin D levels above 100 nmol/l (40 ng/ml) is essential for the prevention of multiple sclerosis. Below this level the vitamin D supplementation is reasonable. In pregnancy, the vitamin D deficiency at the last two semester increases the risk for the multiple sclerosis of the infant. The optimal vitamin D level for multiple sclerosis patients is 100-150 nmol/l (40-60 ng/ml). There is no consensus for the role of vitamin D in multiple sclerosis yet, but until the achieving this, the diagnosis and the treatment of the vitamin D deficiency is crucial for scelrosis multiplex patients and in cases of elevated risk. Data shows, that in patient with multiple sclerosis the normal vitamin D level is suboptimal, however the exact role of vitamin D and doses must be clarified by interventional studies.]

Hypertension and nephrology

[The role of vitamin D receptor and the risk reducing effect of vitamin D receptor agonists in chronic kidney disease]


[Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin and is modified in the liver and kidney to the active metabolite form, 1,25-dyhydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol). Calcitriol binds to a nuclear receptor, the vitamin D receptor (VDR), and activates processes that bind to vitamin D. The classical effects of vitamin D receptor activator or agonist (VDRA) therapy for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with chronic kidney disease primarily involves suppressive effects on the parathyroid gland, and regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption in the intestine an mobilization in bone. Several VDR agonists have been developed for the treatment of osteoporosis, hyperparathyroidism secondary to chronic kidney disease (CKD), and psoriasis. Secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) is a common and serious consequence of CKD. SHPT is a complex condition characterized by a decline in 1,25-dihidroxi vitamin D and consequent VDR activation, abnormalities in serum calcium and phosphorus levels, parathyroid gland hyperplasia, elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion, and systemic mineral and bone abnormalities. There are three classes of drug used for treatment of SHPT (non-selective and selective VDR activators, and calcimimetics). Observational studies in hemodialysis patients report improved cardiovascular and allcause survival among those received VDRA therapy compared with those not on VDRA therapy. The survival benefits of selective VDRA paricalcitol appear to be linked to "non classical" action of VDRA, possibly through VDRA-mediated modulation of gene expression. VRDAs are reported to have beneficial effects such as anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic effects, inhibition of vascular calcification and stiffening, inhibition of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, and regression of left ventricular hypertrophy. VDRA are also reported to negatively regulate the renin-angiotensin system, which plays a key role in hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke. Data from epidemiological, preclinical and clinical studies have shown that vitamin D and/or 25(OH) vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The selective VDR agonists are associated direct protective effects on glomerular architecture and antiproteinuric effects in response to renal damage. Emerging evidence suggest that VDR plays important roles in modulating cardiovascular, immunological, metabolic and other function. Paricalcitol may prove to have a substantial beneficial effect on cardiac disease and its outcome in patients with CKD.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Physiological-pathological muscle atrophy in elderly - interventions potencially inhibiting this progressive process ]


[In old and very old age, one of the most prevalent signs of aged body’s decline is the progressive loss of muscle mass and function. First itself the physiological aging process can be dominant in the complex causative background but later it is usually intertwined with pathological mechanisms. The importance of muscle system is extremely high in the physiological regulation of various vital life processes The paper also points out the far-reaching consequences of sarcopenia syndrome that leads to general weakness, falls, traumas, acceleration of co-morbidities, rapidly declining self independence, ultimately frailty syndrome, and death. The initial body mass index has been recently replaced by a more adequate, more complex diagnostic approachment of sarcopenia that evaluates both muscle mass/strength and physical performance. Prevention or breaking the process of sarcopenia needs complex intervention which includes special fast protein rich diet with leucin and vitamin D combined with frequent physical exercise. ]