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      Vitamin D Deficiency

      New England Journal of Medicine

      Massachusetts Medical Society

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          Distribution of the vitamin D receptor and 1 alpha-hydroxylase in human brain.

          Despite a growing body of evidence that Vitamin D is involved in mammalian brain functioning, there has been a lack of direct evidence about its role in the human brain. This paper reports, for the first time, the distribution of the 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 receptor (VDR), and 1alpha-hydroxylase (1alpha-OHase), the enzyme responsible for the formation of the active vitamin in the human brain. The receptor and the enzyme were found in both neurons and glial cells in a regional and layer-specific pattern. The VDR was restricted to the nucleus whilst 1alpha-OHase was distributed throughout the cytoplasm. The distribution of the VDR in human brain was strikingly similar to that reported in rodents. Many regions contained equivalent amounts of both the VDR and 1alpha-OHase, however the macrocellular cells within the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM) and the Purkinje cells in the cerebellum expressed 1alpha-OHase in the absence of VDR. The strongest immunohistochemical staining for both the receptor and enzyme was in the hypothalamus and in the large (presumably dopaminergic) neurons within the substantia nigra. The observed distribution of the VDR is consistent with the proposal that Vitamin D operates in a similar fashion to the known neurosteroids. The widespread distribution of 1alpha-OHase and the VDR suggests that Vitamin D may have autocrine/paracrine properties in the human brain.
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            Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in the elderly women.

            Hypovitaminosis D and a low calcium intake contribute to increased parathyroid function in elderly persons. Calcium and vitamin D supplements reduce this secondary hyperparathyroidism, but whether such supplements reduce the risk of hip fractures among elderly people is not known. We studied the effects of supplementation with vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and calcium on the frequency of hip fractures and other nonvertebral fractures, identified radiologically, in 3270 healthy ambulatory women (mean [+/- SD] age, 84 +/- 6 years). Each day for 18 months, 1634 women received tricalcium phosphate (containing 1.2 g of elemental calcium) and 20 micrograms (800 IU) of vitamin D3, and 1636 women received a double placebo. We measured serial serum parathyroid hormone and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations in 142 women and determined the femoral bone mineral density at base line and after 18 months in 56 women. Among the women who completed the 18-month study, the number of hip fractures was 43 percent lower (P = 0.043) and the total number of nonvertebral fractures was 32 percent lower (P = 0.015) among the women treated with vitamin D3 and calcium than among those who received placebo. The results of analyses according to active treatment and according to intention to treat were similar. In the vitamin D3-calcium group, the mean serum parathyroid hormone concentration had decreased by 44 percent from the base-line value at 18 months (P < 0.001) and the serum 25(OH)D concentration had increased by 162 percent over the base-line value (P < 0.001). The bone density of the proximal femur increased 2.7 percent in the vitamin D3-calcium group and decreased 4.6 percent in the placebo group (P < 0.001). Supplementation with vitamin D3 and calcium reduces the risk of hip fractures and other nonvertebral fractures among elderly women.
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              Resurrection of vitamin D deficiency and rickets.

              The epidemic scourge of rickets in the 19th century was caused by vitamin D deficiency due to inadequate sun exposure and resulted in growth retardation, muscle weakness, skeletal deformities, hypocalcemia, tetany, and seizures. The encouragement of sensible sun exposure and the fortification of milk with vitamin D resulted in almost complete eradication of the disease. Vitamin D (where D represents D2 or D3) is biologically inert and metabolized in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], the major circulating form of vitamin D that is used to determine vitamin D status. 25(OH)D is activated in the kidneys to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], which regulates calcium, phosphorus, and bone metabolism. Vitamin D deficiency has again become an epidemic in children, and rickets has become a global health issue. In addition to vitamin D deficiency, calcium deficiency and acquired and inherited disorders of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus metabolism cause rickets. This review summarizes the role of vitamin D in the prevention of rickets and its importance in the overall health and welfare of infants and children.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                July 19 2007
                July 19 2007
                : 357
                : 3
                : 266-281
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMra070553
                © 2007
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