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Lancet. 2010 Jul 17;376(9736):180-8. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60588-0. Epub 2010 Jun 10.

Common genetic determinants of vitamin D insufficiency: a genome-wide association study.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



Vitamin D is crucial for maintenance of musculoskeletal health, and might also have a role in extraskeletal tissues. Determinants of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations include sun exposure and diet, but high heritability suggests that genetic factors could also play a part. We aimed to identify common genetic variants affecting vitamin D concentrations and risk of insufficiency.


We undertook a genome-wide association study of 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in 33 996 individuals of European descent from 15 cohorts. Five epidemiological cohorts were designated as discovery cohorts (n=16 125), five as in-silico replication cohorts (n=9367), and five as de-novo replication cohorts (n=8504). 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay, chemiluminescent assay, ELISA, or mass spectrometry. Vitamin D insufficiency was defined as concentrations lower than 75 nmol/L or 50 nmol/L. We combined results of genome-wide analyses across cohorts using Z-score-weighted meta-analysis. Genotype scores were constructed for confirmed variants.


Variants at three loci reached genome-wide significance in discovery cohorts for association with 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, and were confirmed in replication cohorts: 4p12 (overall p=1.9x10(-109) for rs2282679, in GC); 11q12 (p=2.1x10(-27) for rs12785878, near DHCR7); and 11p15 (p=3.3x10(-20) for rs10741657, near CYP2R1). Variants at an additional locus (20q13, CYP24A1) were genome-wide significant in the pooled sample (p=6.0x10(-10) for rs6013897). Participants with a genotype score (combining the three confirmed variants) in the highest quartile were at increased risk of having 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations lower than 75 nmol/L (OR 2.47, 95% CI 2.20-2.78, p=2.3x10(-48)) or lower than 50 nmol/L (1.92, 1.70-2.16, p=1.0x10(-26)) compared with those in the lowest quartile.


Variants near genes involved in cholesterol synthesis, hydroxylation, and vitamin D transport affect vitamin D status. Genetic variation at these loci identifies individuals who have substantially raised risk of vitamin D insufficiency.


Full funding sources listed at end of paper (see Acknowledgments).

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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