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Study Of Vitamin D Status And Vitamin D Receptor Polymorphisms In A Cohort Of Italian Patients With Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Francesca Marini, Fernanda Falcini, Stefano Stagi, Sergio Fabbri, Simone Ciuffi, Donato Rigante, Marco Matucci Cerinic, Maria Luisa Brandi

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Abstract Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common chronic arthritis of children and adolescents. Autoimmune mechanisms are suspected to have a central role in its development. Vitamin D is an immuno-modulator in a variety of conditions, including autoimmune diseases. Low levels of vitamin D have commonly been found in JIA patients, but the influence of this hormone insufficiency in JIA pathogenesis is still unclear. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) mediates a great majority of vitamin D biological activities; specific polymorphisms of the VDR gene have been associated with different biologic responses to vitamin D. In this study, we analysed clinical characteristics of a cohort of 103 Italian JIA patients. The distribution of VDR polymorphisms in affected patients versus healthy controls was evaluated, as well as if and how these polymorphic variants associate with different disease presentations (active disease vs non-active disease), different JIA subtypes, serum levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D and parathyroid hormone (PTH), and lumbar spine Z-score values (osteopenia vs normal bone mineral density). A great majority of our JIA patients (84.5%) showed a suboptimal vitamin D status, in many cases (84.1%) not solved by vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D status resulted to be independent of VDR genotypes. ApaI genotypes showed a highly significant different distribution between JIA patients and unaffected controls, with both the TT genotype and the T allele significantly more frequent in patient group.