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Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jun;105(6):1362-1371. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.143248. Epub 2017 Apr 19.

Demographic, lifestyle, and genetic determinants of circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and vitamin D-binding protein in African American and European American women.

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Departments of Cancer Prevention and Control and
Departments of Cancer Prevention and Control and.
Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ.
Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY.
Slone Epidemiology Center and.
Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA; and.
Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.


Background: Vitamin D may have anticancer activities. The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in African Americans (AAs) may be a contributing factor to the cancer health disparities between AAs and European Americans (EAs).Objectives: We compared concentrations of 25(OH)D and vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP) in AA and EA women and investigated determinants of the vitamin D-biomarker concentrations in both populations.Design: We used data and biospecimens from 909 AA and 847 EA healthy control subjects from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS) and the Women's Circle of Health Study (WCHS) in the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk Consortium. We measured plasma 25(OH)D and VDBP concentrations in all participants and genotyped 67 vitamin D-related genes in AA women only.Results: AA women had lower 25(OH)D concentrations than did EA women (mean ± SD: 14.2 ± 8.1 compared with 21.1 ± 11.5 ng/mL, respectively; P < 0.0001) but similar concentrations of VDBP (mean ± SD: 344 ± 133 compared with 336 ± 124 μg/mL, respectively; P = 0.25). With VDBP and other factors controlled for, the observed racial difference in 25(OH)D concentrations did not diminish. Relations of demographic and lifestyle factors with 25(OH)D were similar between AA and EA women. Although none of the genetic variants that have been identified in previous genome-wide association studies of 25(OH)D concentrations in EAs were significant (P > 0.05) in AAs, AA women who carried the allele of a functional single nucleotide polymorphism rs4988235, which has been previously associated with lactase expression and lactose tolerance, had higher dietary vitamin D intake and higher measured 25(OH)D concentrations.Conclusions: AA women have lower concentrations of total 25(OH)D than EA women do, but both groups have similar VDBP concentrations, suggesting that there are lower concentrations of free 25(OH)D in AAs. Although demographic and lifestyle determinants of 25(OH)D concentrations are similar between the 2 groups, genetic determinants may be ethnicity specific. Larger studies in AAs will be needed to fully elucidate the underlying determinants of low vitamin D concentrations in AA populations.


African American; European American; racial disparity; vitamin D; vitamin D–binding protein

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