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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Dr. Arshed A. Quyyumi, Emory University Hospital, 1364 Clifton Road, Suite-D403C, Atlanta, Georgia 30322; Email: aquyyum@emory.edu

Disclosures: The authors have reported that they have no relationships to disclose.


Research Funding:

This study was supported by the American Heart Association, The Emory Predictive Health Institute, Woodruff Fund, and in part by National Institutes of Health Grants UL1RR025008 from the Clinical and Translational Science Award program and M01RR0039.


  • arterial stiffness
  • endothelial function
  • vitamin D

Vitamin D Status Is Associated With Arterial Stiffness and Vascular Dysfunction in Healthy Humans

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Journal Title:

Journal of the American College of Cardiology


Volume 58, Number 2


, Pages 186-192

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Objectives The primary objective of this study was to elucidate mechanisms underlying the link between vitamin D status and cardiovascular disease by exploring the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH D), an established marker of vitamin D status, and vascular function in healthy adults. Background Mechanisms underlying vitamin D deficiency-mediated increased risk of cardiovascular disease remain unknown. Vitamin D influences endothelial and smooth muscle cell function, mediates inflammation, and modulates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axis. We investigated the relationship between vitamin D status and vascular function in humans, with the hypothesis that vitamin D insufficiency will be associated with increased arterial stiffness and abnormal vascular function. Methods We measured serum 25-OH D in 554 subjects. Endothelial function was assessed as brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, and microvascular function was assessed as digital reactive hyperemia index. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and radial tonometry-derived central augmentation index and subendocardial viability ratio were measured to assess arterial stiffness. Results Mean 25-OH D was 31.8 ± 14 ng/ml. After adjustment for age, sex, race, body mass index, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, C-reactive protein, and medication use, 25-OH D remained independently associated with flow-mediated vasodilation (β = 0.1, p = 0.03), reactive hyperemia index (β = 0.23, p < 0.001), pulse wave velocity (β = −0.09, p = 0.04), augmentation index (β = −0.11, p = 0.03), and subendocardial viability ratio (β = 0.18, p = 0.001). In 42 subjects with vitamin D insufficiency, normalization of 25-OH D at 6 months was associated with increases in reactive hyperemia index (0.38 ± 0.14, p = 0.009) and subendocardial viability ratio (7.7 ± 3.1, p = 0.04), and a decrease in mean arterial pressure (4.6 ± 2.3 mm Hg, p = 0.02). Conclusions Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with increased arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction in the conductance and resistance blood vessels in humans, irrespective of traditional risk burden. Our findings provide impetus for larger trials to assess the effects of vitamin D therapy in cardiovascular disease.

Copyright information:

© 2011 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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