Vitamin D deficiency reduces lung growth and lung function

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to deficits in lung function and altered lung structure. Examinations of specific tissue responses revealed model mice had reduced lung function.

The new study, conducted by researchers in Australia, offers the first concrete evidence linking vitamin D deficiency with deficits in lung function and altered lung structure.

The findings will be published in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

“The results of this study clearly demonstrate that vitamin D deficiency alters lung growth, resulting in lower lung volume and decrements in lung function,” said Graeme Zosky, PhD, a research fellow at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Subiaco, Australia.

“This is the first direct mechanistic evidence showing that vitamin D deficiency alters lung development, which may explain the association between obstructive lung disease and levels of vitamin D.”

To conduct their study, the researchers used a mouse model of vitamin D deficiency and evaluated lung responses of two-week-old mice, comparing them to control mice without vitamin D deficiency to determine what, if any, effects the deficiency may have caused in the growth, structure or function of the lungs.

The researchers found that airway resistance was significantly higher while lung volume was significantly lower in vitamin D-deficient mice compared to control mice. Examinations of specific tissue responses revealed model mice had reduced lung function. Lungs were also smaller in model mice, which Dr. Zosky said could have been caused by the deficiencies of the mother or of the offspring.

Dr. Zosky noted that although recent studies suggest that vitamin D deficiency is associated with reduced lung function, causal data confirming a relationship between vitamin D and lung function have been lacking.

The results also raise concerns about the potential this deficiency may have on lung health, and in particular, the potential impact deficiency may have on the susceptibility to obstructive lung disease.

Dr. Zosky said the study results have important implications for prevention of lung diseases in populations where vitamin D deficiencies are common.

Source: American Thoracic Society, USA

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