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J Nutr. 2008 Jun;138(6):1114-20.

Serum metabolite profiles and target tissue gene expression define the effect of cholecalciferol intake on calcium metabolism in rats and mice.

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Department of Foods and Nutrition and the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2059, USA.


We studied the effect of cholecalciferol (VD3) intake on VD3 status and markers of calcium (Ca) homeostasis in mice and rats. Serum 25 hydroxycholecalciferol (25OH-VD3) concentrations were increased in animals fed diets containing 400-20,000 international units (IU) VD3/kg (37 nmol.L(-1).1000 IU VD3(-1)), but body weight, serum Ca, and duodenal gene expression were not altered. High-VD3 intake decreased serum 1, 25-dihydroxycholecalciferol [1,25(OH)2-VD3] and renal 25 hydroxycholecalciferol-1alphahydroxylase (CYP27B1) mRNA, suggesting that rodents tolerate high-VD3 intake by suppressing the activity of the VD3 endocrine system. Serum 25OH-VD3 declined when animals were fed diets containing 1000 to 25 IU VD3/kg (9-11 wk, inflection at 200 IU/kg, 4-fold steeper slope below this). Neither body weight nor serum Ca were influenced by low-VD3 intake. However, mice fed the 25-IU/kg diet had lower serum 1,25(OH)2-VD3, duodenal calbindin D9k mRNA, bone mineral density, and renal 25 hydroxycholecalciferol-24 hydroxylase mRNA, whereas renal CYP27B1 mRNA was elevated when rodents were fed < 200 IU VD3/kg. These data reveal a stress on VD3 and Ca metabolism at low dietary VD3 intake. Dietary Ca restriction (0.25 vs. 0.5%, 9 wk) increased serum 1,25(OH)2-VD3 and was 30% greater in rats fed a 10,000-IU VD3/kg diet. High-VD3 intake did not prevent Ca restriction-induced bone loss. Our data show that modeling human VD3 status requires lower intake than the current NRC rodent requirement (1000-IU/kg diet). Also, although rodents are very tolerant of high-VD3 intake, it cannot compensate for moderate Ca restriction.

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