Vitamin D status in children and adolescents with autoimmune thyroiditis

K A Metwalley, H S Farghaly, T Sherief, A Hussein
Journal of Endocrinological Investigation 2016, 39 (7): 793-7

BACKGROUND: Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem. Its role as an immune modulator has been recently emphasized. There is increasing evidence for the significant role of vitamin D in reducing the incidence of autoimmune diseases. However, little is known about the status of vitamin D in children and adolescents with autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT).

OBJECTIVE: The goal of the present study was to assess vitamin D status in Egyptian children and adolescents with AIT and to explore its relation to biomarkers of autoimmunity and thyroid function.

DESIGN: A prevalence case-control study that included 56 children with AIT and 56 healthy, age- and sex-matched subjects that served as the control group. The following was done for all participants: thorough history, physical examination, thyroid ultrasound, measurement of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxin (FT4), anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb), anti-thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) and assessment of serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25OHD) level.

RESULTS: Overt hypothyroidism was detected in 42/56 while subclinical hypothyroidism was detected in 14/56 of the studied patients. Vitamin D deficiency rate was significantly higher in the AIT group compared to the control subjects (71.4 vs 21.4 %, P < 0.001). In AIT group, the mean level of 25OHD was significantly lower compared to the control group (16.2 ± 8.2 vs 33.9 ± 12.7 nmol/L, P < 0.001). The difference was more evident in patients with overt hypothyroidism than those with subclinical hypothyroidism (P < 0.01). There were significant negative correlations between serum 25OHD and age, duration of the disease, BMI, anti-TPOAb, anti-TGAb and TSH (P < 0.001 each). On the other hand, serum 25OHD correlated positively with FT4 levels. While 25OHD level was an independent risk factor for AIT, it failed to qualify as an independent risk for the progression of AIT to overt hypothyroidism after adjustment for other potential confounding factors; age, sex and BMI.

CONCLUSIONS: Low serum vitamin D is significantly associated with AIT in Egyptian children. However, vitamin D level is not an independent risk for the progression of AIT to overt hypothyroidism. BMI may have an influence on serum 25OHD levels.

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