September 04, 2015
1 min read

Vitamin D deficiency common in patients with SLE, linked to disease activity

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Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency was seen in most patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and levels of vitamin D negatively correlated with disease activity, according to researchers in Cairo.

Researchers identified 60 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and 30 healthy participants matched for age and sex and conducted an observational, cross-sectional study. Patients were assessed for serum levels of 25(OH)D, the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI), Systemic Lupus International Collaborative Clinics/American College of Rheumatology (SLICC/ACR) damage index (SDI), and visual analogue scale (VAS) for fatigue. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as serum 25(OH)D levels of 10 ng/mL or below, and insufficiency was defined as levels between 10 ng/mL and 30 ng/mL.

Serological analysis showed that patients with SLE had significantly lower levels of serum 25(OH)D compared to healthy participants (17.6 ng/mL vs. 79 ng/mL), and deficiency and insufficiency of vitamin D were observed with high prevalence. Vitamin D insufficiency was detected in 73.3% of patients with SLE and deficiency was seen in 23.3% of patients. A highly significant negative correlation was observed between levels of vitamin D and SLEDAI and fatigue, a difference that remained after adjusting for clinical variables using regression analysis.

“Routine screening and consequent repletion of vitamin D if needed is recommended in SLE,” the researchers wrote. “Restoring adequate vitamin D levels in SLE should be more explored as a potential and simple, yet valuable, measure to be added to their usual management to alleviate their condition.” – by Shirley Pulawski


Abaza N, et al. Paper #FRI0417. Presented at: European League Against Rheumatism Annual European Congress of Rheumatology. June 10-13, 2015; Rome.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.