Objective: To investigate the associations between hypovitaminosis D and disease activity in a cohort of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) patients.
Methods: In 51 RRMS and 2 CIS patients on stable interferon-β-1b (IFN-β-1b) treatment recruited to the EVIDIMS study (Efficacy of Vitamin D Supplementation in Multiple Sclerosis (NCT01440062) baseline serum vitamin D levels were evaluated. Patients were dichotomized based on the definition of vitamin D deficiency which is reflected by a < 30 vs. ≥ 30 ng/ml level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D). Possible associations between vitamin D deficiency and both clinical and MRI features of the disease were analyzed.
Results: Median (25, 75% quartiles, Q) 25(OH)D level was 18 ng/ml (12, 24). Forty eight out of 53 (91%) patients had 25(OH)D levels < 30 ng/ml (p < 0.001). Patients with 25(OH)D ≥ 30 ng/ml had lower median (25, 75% Q) T2-weighted lesion counts [25 (24, 33)] compared to patients with 25(OH)D < 30 ng/ml [60 (36, 84), p = 0.03; adjusted for age, gender and disease duration: p < 0.001]. Expanded disability status scale (EDSS) score was negatively associated with serum 25(OH)D levels in a multiple linear regression, including age, sex, and disease duration (adjusted: p < 0.001).
Interpretation: Most patients recruited in the EVIDIMS study were vitamin D deficient. Higher 25(OH)D levels were associated with reduced T2 weighted lesion count and lower EDSS scores.