Vitamin D is a steroid hormone with pleiotropic effects including immune system modulation, lung tissue remodeling, and bone health. Vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases. We sought to evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in a cohort of patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD) and hypothesized that vitamin D deficiency would be associated with an underlying connective tissue disease (CTD) and reduced lung function.
Patients in the University of Cincinnati ILD Center database were evaluated for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels as part of a standardized protocol. Regression analysis evaluated associations between 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and other variables.
One hundred eighteen subjects were included (67 with CTD-ILD, 51 with other forms of ILD). The overall prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in the study population was 38% and 59%, respectively. Those with CTD-ILD were more likely to have vitamin D deficiency (52% vs 20%, P < .0001) and insufficiency (79% vs 31%, P < .0001) than other forms of ILD. Diminished FVC was associated with lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels (P = .01). The association between vitamin D insufficiency and CTD-ILD persisted (OR, 11.8; P < .0001) after adjustment for potential confounders. Among subjects with CTD-ILD, reduced 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels were strongly associated with reduced lung function (FVC, P = .015; diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide, P = .004).
There is a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with ILD, particularly those with CTD-ILD, and it is associated with reduced lung function. Vitamin D may have a role in the pathogenesis of CTD-ILD.