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 vitamin D deficiencies have been found to affect the development of other autoimmune diseases, like lupus and type 1 diabetes.
"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.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the body produces abnormal cells that turn on the body and attack major organs and tissues. Connective tissue diseases include lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis, vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis 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 vitamin D deficiency 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."
This study was funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Research Loan Repayment Grant and a K23 award from the NIH.
Katie Pence | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine