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J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Sep;25(9):1988-95. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.99.

Comparison of metabolism of vitamins D2 and D3 in children with nutritional rickets.

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Department of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Children with calcium-deficiency rickets may have increased vitamin D requirements and respond differently to vitamin D(2) and vitamin D(3). Our objective was to compare the metabolism of vitamins D(2) and D(3) in rachitic and control children. We administered an oral single dose of vitamin D(2) or D(3) of 1.25 mg to 49 Nigerian children--28 with active rickets and 21 healthy controls. The primary outcome measure was the incremental change in vitamin D metabolites. Baseline serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations ranged from 7 to 24 and 15 to 34 ng/mL in rachitic and control children, respectively (p < .001), whereas baseline 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)(2)D] values (mean ± SD) were 224 ± 72 and 121 ± 34 pg/mL, respectively (p < .001), and baseline 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [24,25(OH)(2)D] values were 1.13 ± 0.59 and 4.03 ± 1.33 ng/mL, respectively (p < .001). The peak increment in 25(OH)D was on day 3 and was similar with vitamins D(2) and D(3) in children with rickets (29 ± 17 and 25 ± 11 ng/mL, respectively) and in control children (33 ± 13 and 31 ± 16 ng/mL, respectively). 1,25(OH)(2)D rose significantly (p < .001) and similarly (p = .18) on day 3 by 166 ± 80 and 209 ± 83 pg/mL after vitamin D(2) and D(3) administration, respectively, in children with rickets. By contrast, control children had no significant increase in 1,25(OH)(2)D (19 ± 28 and 16 ± 38 pg/mL after vitamin D(2) and D(3) administration, respectively). We conclude that in the short term, vitamins D(2) and D(3) similarly increase serum 25(OH)D concentrations in rachitic and healthy children. A marked increase in 1,25(OH)(2)D in response to vitamin D distinguishes children with putative dietary calcium-deficiency rickets from healthy children, consistent with increased vitamin D requirements in children with calcium-deficiency rickets.

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