Nav: Home

Low level vitamin D during remission contributes to relapse in ulcerative colitis patients

February 17, 2017

BOSTON - A new study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has found that lower levels of vitamin D in the blood increase the risk of clinical relapse in patients with Ulcerative Colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the colon. The study was published in the February issue of the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Lower vitamin D levels have been associated with active disease in patients with UC, but it has been unknown whether they increase disease relapses. "Prior studies in patients with Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis had linked low vitamin D levels to disease flare-ups," said senior author Alan Moss, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Digestive Disease Center at BIDMC and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"However, it has been unclear if the flare-up was lowering vitamin D levels, or if low vitamin D levels were causing the flare-up. We thought that if we looked at vitamin D levels when the disease was inactive and then followed patients moving forward, the impact of baseline vitamin D levels on future events may be clearer."

Moss and colleagues collected vitamin D serum levels through a physician-blinded prospective study of 70 patients with UC in clinical remission who were followed up after a surveillance colonoscopy at BIDMC. The study measured vitamin D levels in blood samples and levels of inflammation through blood tests and biopsies. The researchers then followed the patients for 12 months and compared the data from participating patients who remained well and the others who experienced relapses. The investigators found the mean baseline vitamin D level to be lower in patients who later relapsed than those who did not.

"Patients who had higher vitamin D levels when their disease was in remission were less likely to experience a relapse in the future," said John Gubatan, MD, a physician at BIDMC and first author of the study. "This suggests that higher vitamin D levels may play some role in preventing the UC relapse." The threshold level of blood vitamin D that was protective was greater than 35ng/ml, which is within the range recommended by the National Institutes of Health for a healthy individual.

Ongoing work by Gubatan and Moss is now examining the link between vitamin D and a protein called cathelicidin in the cells lining the colon. The link may have beneficial effects on microbial composition, an important component of a healthy colon. Building on this research, investigators are trying to unravel how vitamin D may protect cells in the colon and the microbial composition of the bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses that live on and inside the human body, Moss noted.
-end-
In addition to Moss and Gubatan, the study was performed at BIDMC by authors Shuji Mitsuhashi, Talia Zenlea, MD, Laura Rosenberg, MD, and Simon Robson, MB, ChB, FRCP, PhD.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (K23DK084338) and a Rabb Research Award (ACM).

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding.

BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Anna Jaques Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Lawrence General Hospital, MetroWest Medical Center, Signature Healthcare, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the Jackson Laboratory. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit http://www.bidmc.org.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Related Inflammatory Bowel Disease Articles:

Are steroids used too much for patients with inflammatory bowel disease?
Steroid therapy is commonly used to treat acute attacks of the inflammatory bowel diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease; however, because it does not provide long-term benefits and it carries a risk of serious side effects, it should not be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease for more than three months.
FODMAPs diet relieves symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease
New research from King's College London has found that a diet low in fermented carbohydrates has improved certain gut symptoms and improved health-related quality of life for sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The diet-microbiome connection in inflammatory bowel disease
A change in diet is a go-to strategy for treating inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's.
Edinburgh is global hotspot for inflammatory bowel disease rates
Edinburgh has some of the highest known rates of inflammatory bowel disease in the world and the figure is expected to rise in the next 10 years.
Medication linked to increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease
Medications that target tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF╬▒), a protein involved in inflammation, have revolutionized the management of certain autoimmune diseases, but paradoxically, these agents might provoke the development of other autoimmune conditions.
Study provides insights into depression in people with inflammatory bowel disease
Depression is common in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but the actual causes of depression in this group are unknown.
Sunshine may decrease risk of inflammatory bowel disease
Children who spend half an hour a day outside in the sun reduce their risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to new research from The Australian National University (ANU).
New prognostic test could enable personalised treatment of inflammatory bowel disease
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed a new test that can reliably predict the future course of inflammatory bowel disease in individuals, transforming treatments for patients and paving the way for a personalised approach.
Role of interventional inflammatory bowel disease in the era of biologic therapy
According to a new statement from a panel of national and international experts in gastroenterology, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other areas, interventional (or therapeutic) IBD endoscopy has an expanding role in the treatment of disease and of adverse events from surgery.
Improving diagnosis leads to better outcomes in patients with inflammatory bowel disease
It is estimated that 3 million Americans live with inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
More Inflammatory Bowel Disease News and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.