Correlation of vitamin D levels with burden of white matter lesions in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome

Jennifer L Miller, Ilona M Schmalfuss


Objective: Vitamin D has a variety of roles, including bone metabolism, calcium homeostasis, immunomodulation, anti-inflammation, and possibly neuroprotection. Neuroimaging has shown that hypovitaminosis D may cause more rapid progression and increased severity of white matter hyperintensities (WMH) in some populations. Individuals with Prader-WIlli syndrome (PWS) often have inadequate vitamin D intake, so we investigated if the burden of WMH in PWS is associated with hypovitaminosis D.

Design/Methods: We evaluated brain MRI’s of 20 individuals with vitamin D levels measured at the time of the scan, who were between ages 5 and 46 years and had PWS (n = 17) or were typical siblings (n = 3). The presence and number of WMH were correlated with vitamin D.

Results: Serum vitamin D levels were inversely correlated with the presence and number of WMH (0.025) in individuals with PWS and controls, as well as the progression of WMH (p = 0.029) in PWS. Additionally, vitamin D levels correlated with cognitive scores in PWS (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: The results of this small study support that vitamin D has neuroprotective effects influencing the development and progression of WMH even in the pediatric population. Studies should be done in children with high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency such as obesity.

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International Journal of Diagnostic Imaging

ISSN 2331-5857 (Print)  ISSN 2331-5865 (Online)

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