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Neurology. 2013 Oct 22;81(17):1531-7. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a95818. Epub 2013 Sep 25.

Unrecognized vitamin D3 deficiency is common in Parkinson disease: Harvard Biomarker Study.

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From the Neurogenomics Laboratory (H.D., K.D., K.C.L., A.N.H., K.D., A.T.-L., C.R.S.), Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women's Hospital, Cambridge; Biomarkers Program (K.D., K.C.L., A.N.H., K.D., A.T.-L., M.T.H., U.S.S., B.M., N.M., V.K., S.N.G., D.J.S., M.A.S., M.G.S., B.T.H., J.H.G., C.R.S.), Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center, Boston; Department of Neurology (J.J.L., U.S.S., A.-M.W., A.W.F., A.Y.H., N.M., V.K., S.N.G., M.A.S., B.T.H., J.H.G., C.R.S.), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Department of Neurology (M.T.H., A.Y.H., D.J.S., L.R.S., C.R.S.), Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; Paracelsus-Elena-Klinik (B.M.), Kassel, Germany; and Division of Neurology, the Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa (M.G.S.), Canada.



To conclusively test for a specific association between the biological marker 25-hydroxy-vitamin D3, a transcriptionally active hormone produced in human skin and liver, and the prevalence and severity of Parkinson disease (PD).


We used liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry to establish an association specifically between deficiency of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D3 and PD in a cross-sectional and longitudinal case-control study of 388 patients (mean Hoehn and Yahr stage of 2.1 ± 0.6) and 283 control subjects free of neurologic disease nested in the Harvard Biomarker Study.


Plasma levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D3 were associated with PD in both univariate and multivariate analyses with p values = 0.0034 and 0.047, respectively. Total 25-hydroxy-vitamin D levels, the traditional composite measure of endogenous and exogenous vitamin D, were deficient in 17.6% of patients with PD compared with 9.3% of controls. Low 25-hydroxy-vitamin D3 as well as total 25-hydroxy-vitamin D levels were correlated with higher total Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale scores at baseline and during follow-up.


Our study reveals an association between 25-hydroxy-vitamin D3 and PD and suggests that thousands of patients with PD in North America alone may be vitamin D-deficient. This finding has immediate relevance for individual patients at risk of falls as well as public health, and warrants further investigation into the mechanism underlying this association.

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