Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis: epidemiology, immunology, and genetics
Current Opinion in Neurology, 05/18/2012
Simon KC et al. – Research on the nature of the association between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis (MS) risk and progression continues to progress; however, additional research on the timing and dose–response relationship will be crucial for designing future prevention and treatment trials.
- Evidence continues to accumulate supporting a protective role for vitamin D in MS risk and progression.
- Notable recent findings are that high 25–hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] at the time of a first demyelinating event predicts a lower MS risk and a decreased risk of MS among offspring whose mothers had high predicted 25(OH)D levels.
- While a small vitamin D intervention study did not find an association between vitamin D and MS progression, this study had little statistical power, and larger trials will be needed to assess the therapeutic potential of vitamin D.
- Recent immunological studies also show modulation of the immune system by vitamin D that may be favorable for preventing or slowing the progression of MS.
- The demonstration that rare variants in CYP27B1, which encodes the enzyme that converts vitamin D to its active form, are strongly associated with MS risk supports a causal role of vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for MS.