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Developmental biology - Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Risk of Schizophrenia

Australia and Denmark collaborate on neonatal vitamin D study of possible link to schizophrenia...

Neonatal vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk for schizophrenia later in life, according to a team of Australian and Danish researchers. This discovery could help prevent some cases of the disease by treating vitamin D deficiency during the earliest stages of life. The work is published in Scientific Reports.
The study by the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Aarhus University in Denmark, found newborns with vitamin D deficiency had a 44 per cent increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia as adults compared to those with normal vitamin D levels.

"As the developing fetus is totally reliant on the mother's vitamin D storage, our findings suggest ensuring pregnant women have adequate levels of vitamin D, may prevent some schizophrenia cases comparable to how folate supplements help prevent spina bifida." explains John J. McGrath PhD, leader of the study. Research was conducted by a team from Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, and the Park Centre for Mental Health, Queensland, Australia collaborating with researchers at the National Centre for Register-Based Research, Aarhus University, Denmark.

McGrath also led a 2016 Dutch study linking prenatal vitamin D deficiency with increased risk of childhood autism traits. The current study is based on 2602 individuals, and confirms his previous research. Analysis was conducted through vitamin D concentration in blood samples taken from Danish newborns between 1981 and 2000; later confirmed through those who developed schizophrenia as young adults. Blood samples were compared to those of people matched by sex and date of birth who did not develop schizophrenia.
"Previous research identified an increased risk of schizophrenia associated with being born in winter or spring and living in a high-latitude country, such as Denmark. We hypothesised that low vitamin D levels in pregnant women due to a lack of sun exposure during winter months might underlie this risk. Our next step will be to conduct randomised clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation to pregnant women who are vitamin D deficient, and examine the impact on child brain development and risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia."

John J. McGrath PhD, Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia; Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, The Park Centre for Mental Health, Wacol, Queensland, Australia; National Centre for Register-Based Research, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

Clues from the epidemiology of schizophrenia, such as the increased risk in those born in winter/spring, have led to the hypothesis that prenatal vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of later schizophrenia. We wish to explore this hypothesis in a large Danish case-control study (n = 2602). The concentration of 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) was assessed from neonatal dried blood samples. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) were calculated when examined for quintiles of 25OHD concentration. In addition, we examined statistical models that combined 25OHD concentration and the schizophrenia polygenic risk score (PRS) in a sample that combined the new sample with a previous study (total n = 3464; samples assayed and genotyped between 2008-2013). Compared to the reference (fourth) quintile, those in the lowest quintile (<20.4 nmol/L) had a significantly increased risk of schizophrenia (IRR = 1.44, 95%CI: 1.12–1.85). None of the other quintile comparisons were significantly different. There was no significant interaction between 25OHD and the PRS. Neonatal vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased risk for schizophrenia in later life. These findings could have important public health implications related to the primary prevention of schizophrenia.

Darryl W. Eyles, Maciej Trzaskowski, Anna A. E. Vinkhuyzen, Manuel Mattheisen, Sandra Meier, Helen Gooch, Victor Anggono, Xiaoying Cui, Men Chee Tan, Thomas H. J. Burne, Se Eun Jang, David Kvaskoff, David M. Hougaard, Bent Nørgaard-Pedersen, Arieh Cohen, Esben Agerbo, Carsten B. Pedersen, Anders D. Børglum, Ole Mors, Pankaj Sah, Naomi R. Wray, Preben B. Mortensen and John J. McGrath.

This project was supported by NHMRC Project grants (APP 1007677, APP 1099709) and a John Cade Fellowship (APP1056929). JM was supported by a Niels Bohr Professorship from the Danish National Research Foundation. This study was supported by the Lundbeck Foundation (grant no R102-A9118 and R155-2014-1724), Denmark; the Stanley Medical Research Institute; an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (project no: 294838); the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute and Centre for Integrated Register-based Research at Aarhus University. This research has been conducted using the Danish National Biobank resource, supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. VA was supported by grants from the Australian Research Council (DP170102402), John T. Reid Charitable Trusts and the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing DementiaResearch. SEJ is a University of Queensland International Scholar. NRW was supported by NHMRC grants (APP1078901, APP1087889, APP1113400). These funding agencies were not involved in any aspect of the study.

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Dec 13, 2018   Fetal Timeline   Maternal Timeline   News   News Archive

Research suggests that neonatal vitamin D deficiency could possibly
account for about 8 per cent of schizophrenia cases in Denmark.

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