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Free vitamin D correlate better with bone mineral density and thoracolumbar junction osteoporotic vertebral fractures than serum vitamin D

Chhantyal K1,2,3, He L1,2,3, Mo J1,2,3, Yin M4, He T1,2,3, Chen Y1,2,3, Yang Y1,2,3, Zhang L5,6,7, Rong L8,9,10.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2020 Mar 12;21(1):164. doi: 10.1186/s12891-020-3179-7.

Vitamin D deficiency has long been studied as a risk factor for osteoporosis. However, the association between serum vitamin D status, bone mineral density (BMD) and the incidence of vertebral fractures (OVFs) remain controversial. It is believed that free portion of the circulating vitamin D carries the metabolic activities of vitamin D. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to analyse if free vitamin D correlates with BMD and osteoporotic fragile vertebral fractures in the elderly population.

A total of 90 consecutive patients, including 81 female and 9 male patients, aged > 48 years, were included in this cross sectional study between March and July of 2018. Total vitamin D (total 25(OH)D), free vitamin D (free 25(OH)D), calcium and phosphorus were measured. BMD was measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and osteoporotic vertebral fracture was assessed using plain radiograph. Multiple linear regression was performed to find out the association between total vitamin D, free vitamin D and BMD at various sites. To evaluate the association with osteoporotic vertebral multivariate logistic regression model was used.

The mean total vitamin D and free vitamin D were 25.1 ± 10.2 and 6.1 ± 1.7 respectively. Free vitamin D had a linear correlation with total vitamin D (R2 = 0.69). While free vitamin D had a positive correlation with lumbar BMD roles (p < 0.05), total vitamin D didn't have any association with BMD at any site. Of the total patients, 62 patients (68.9%) had thoracolumbar junction OVFs. Free vitamin D level correlated with the prevalence of OVFs as well as lumbar osteoporosis (p < 0.05). However, there was no statistical correlation between serum vitamin D status and the OVFs. CONCLUSIONS: Free vitamin D was significantly related to the occurrence of thoracolumbar junction OVFs and lumbar BMD, which assumed to be a positive predictor for fracture and osteoporosis prevention. However, total serum vitamin D levels did not have any association with BMD at different sites as well as fragile vertebral fracture. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study is registered at NCT03605173.