Inherited variation in vitamin D genes is associated with predisposition to autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes.
Cooper JD., Smyth DJ., Walker NM., Stevens H., Burren OS., Wallace C., Greissl C., Ramos-Lopez E., Hyppönen E., Dunger DB., Spector TD., Ouwehand WH., Wang TJ., Badenhoop K., Todd JA.
OBJECTIVE: Vitamin D deficiency (25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] <50 nmol/L) is commonly reported in both children and adults worldwide, and growing evidence indicates that vitamin D deficiency is associated with many extraskeletal chronic disorders, including the autoimmune diseases type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We measured 25(OH)D concentrations in 720 case and 2,610 control plasma samples and genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms from seven vitamin D metabolism genes in 8,517 case, 10,438 control, and 1,933 family samples. We tested genetic variants influencing 25(OH)D metabolism for an association with both circulating 25(OH)D concentrations and disease status. RESULTS: Type 1 diabetic patients have lower circulating levels of 25(OH)D than similarly aged subjects from the British population. Only 4.3 and 18.6% of type 1 diabetic patients reached optimal levels (≥75 nmol/L) of 25(OH)D for bone health in the winter and summer, respectively. We replicated the associations of four vitamin D metabolism genes (GC, DHCR7, CYP2R1, and CYP24A1) with 25(OH)D in control subjects. In addition to the previously reported association between type 1 diabetes and CYP27B1 (P = 1.4 × 10(-4)), we obtained consistent evidence of type 1 diabetes being associated with DHCR7 (P = 1.2 × 10(-3)) and CYP2R1 (P = 3.0 × 10(-3)). CONCLUSIONS: Circulating levels of 25(OH)D in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes vary seasonally and are under the same genetic control as in the general population but are much lower. Three key 25(OH)D metabolism genes show consistent evidence of association with type 1 diabetes risk, indicating a genetic etiological role for vitamin D deficiency in type 1 diabetes.