May 28, 2015
2 min read

Arterial stiffness linked to vitamin D levels in adolescent type 2 diabetes

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Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were inversely associated with noninvasive measures of arterial stiffness that predict future stroke and heart attack in lean adolescents and adolescents with obesity and type 2 diabetes; however, this association was not found in adolescents with obesity alone, according to recent findings.

“The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between serum 25-(OH)D levels in the blood and measures of arterial stiffness in youth and to determine if the relationship between 25-(OH)D levels and arterial stiffness differed in youth who were lean, obese or obese with type 2 diabetes,” the researchers wrote. “We hypothesized low serum 25-(OH)D levels would be associated with increased arterial stiffness independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.”

Amy S. Shah , MD, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study from 2004 to 2010 on data from 190 adolescents with obesity and type 2 diabetes, 190 adolescents with obesity and 190 lean adolescents. Three noninvasive measures of arterial stiffness were measured, including pulse wave velocity, augmentation index and brachial artery distensibility.

Amy Shah

Amy S. Shah

Compared with the obesity group and type 2 diabetes group, the lean group had higher serum 25-(OH)D levels (P < .01); no difference in 25-(OH)D levels was found between the obesity group and type 2 diabetes group.

All arterial stiffness measures worsened from lean to obese to type 2 diabetes (P < .01). In lean participants, there was a negative correlation between 25-(OH)D and augmentation index (P < .01). A negative correlation also was found for all groups between 25-(OH)D and pulse wave velocity (all P < .01). No correlation was found between brachial artery distensibility and 25-(OH)D.

Through general linear model analysis, the researchers found that 25-(OH)D levels remained an independent risk factor for augmentation index in the type 2 diabetes group. A small effect was found for 25-(OH)D levels being an independent risk factor for pulse wave velocity in the lean group only.

“The data presented here show that adolescents with obesity and type 2 diabetes have lower serum 25-(OH)D levels compared to their non-obese counterparts,” Shah told Endocrine Today. “It also points to a potential role of serum 25-(OH)D levels as a nontraditional risk factor that may be important for vascular health in adolescents with type 2 diabetes. Further work is needed to establish the causation and whether replacement of 25-(OH)D in adolescents with type 2 diabetes may reduce, or slow, the process of artery stiffening and change CV disease outcomes.” - by Amber Cox

For more information: Amy S. Shah can be reached at

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.