Vitamin D immune-modulating effects were extensively studied, and low levels have been linked with autoimmune diseases. The associations of vitamin D with autoimmune diseases of the liver, and particularly primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), are yet to be defined. Hence, in this study, serum levels of vitamin D were determined in 79 patients with PBC and 70 age- and sex-matched controls by the LIAISON chemiluminescent immunoassays (DiaSorin—Italy). Clinical and serological parameters of patients were analyzed with respect to vitamin D status. Mean levels of vitamin D were significantly lower among patients with PBC compared with controls (16.8 ± 9 vs. 22.1 ± 9 ng/ml; p = 0.029), and vitamin D deficiency (≤10 ng/ml) was documented in 33 % of patients with PBC versus 7 % of controls (p < 0.0001). Vitamin D levels inversely correlated with advanced liver damage and the presence of concomitant autoimmune diseases. In contrast, higher levels of vitamin D were observed among patients with PBC treated with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). In conclusion, low vitamin D levels are common among patients with PBC and correlate with advanced disease, lack of UDCA therapy and autoimmune comorbidity. This alludes to the plausible roles of vitamin D as a prognostic marker of PBC severity, and as a potential player in this disease pathogenesis. While further studies are awaited, monitoring vitamin D in patients with PBC and use of supplements may be advisable.
- PBC (primary biliary cirrhosis)
- Vitamin D