Mineral homeostasis in very premature infants: Serial evaluation of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, serum minerals, and bone mineralization

Laura S. Hillman, Nancy Hoff, Sharon Salmons, Lesley Martin, William McAlister, John Haddad

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38 Scopus citations


This study was designed to evaluate the role of vitamin D sufficiency, as reflected in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) concentrations, on serum minerals and bone mineralization in very premature infants. Seventy-two infants (mean±SD gestation 30.1±2.5 weeks, mean±SD birth weight 1178±278 gm) were observed serially for the first 3 months of life. Mean serum calcium and phosphorus values, but not magnesium, remained low prior to 12 weeks. The percentage of infants with moderate to severe hypomineralization was 75% at 3 weeks, 55% at 6 weeks, 54% at 9 weeks, and 15% at twelve weeks. Low serum calcium and phosphorus values, high alkaline phosphatase activity, and moderate-severe hypomineralization were more frequent in infants weighing <1000 gm and in those with lower mineral intake. With a 400 IU vitamin D supplement, 45% of infants could maintain an initially normal serum 25-OHD concentration or increase low concentrations, whereas 55% had falling or persistently low (≤15 ng/ml) 25-OHD concentrations. Birth weight and mineral intakes were comparable in these two groups, yet the group with the lower serum 25-OHD c concentration had lower serum calcium and higher alkaline phosphatase values, and a higher percentage of moderate to severe hypomineralization. Regardless of birth weight, mineral intake, or 25-OHD concentration, increases in serum calcium and phosphorus values and in mineralization were seen at postconception term (12 weeks in most infants, nine weeks in those weighing 1250 to 1600 gm). At 12 weeks of age, but not before, serum 25-OHD concentration was directly correlated with serum calcium (r=0.47, P<0.01) and serum phosphorus (r=0.47, P<0.01) and inversely correlated with alkaline phosphatase values (r=-0.71, P<0.01). Mineral availability and 25-OHD sufficiency both appear to be important and to act synergistically, with neither totally compensating for the other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-980
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1985


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