Vitamin D deficiency, interleukin 17, and vascular function in rheumatoid arthritis

Prabha Ranganathan, Shokoufeh Khalatbari, Srilakshmi Yalavarthi, Wendy Marder, Robert Brook, Mariana J. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased cardiovascular (CV) disease risk in the general population. We examined the association between vitamin D deficiency and CV risk in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods. We measured large artery compliance by pulse wave velocity and microvascular function by the reactive hyperemia index in patients with stable RA (n = 87). We quantified CV risk factors, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], and interleukin 17 (IL-17), and RA disease activity by Disease Activity Score of 28 joints. We used linear regression to test associations between serum 25(OH)D and CV risk factors. Results. The mean serum 25(OH)D level in the cohort was 27.1 ± SD 13.6 ng/ml. Fifty-nine patients (68%) were vitamin D-insufficient (25(OH)D < 30 ng/ml; mean 20.2 ± 5.9 ng/ml) and of these, 25 (29%) were vitamin D-deficient (25(OH)D < 20 ng/ml; mean 14.4 ± 3.4 ng/ml). In the whole cohort and the vitamin D-insufficient group, serum 25(OH)D was inversely associated with IL-17 (log IL-17; β = -0.83, p = 0.04; β = -0.63, p = 0.004, respectively) by univariate analysis, which persisted after adjustment for season, and in multivariate analysis after adjustment for confounders (log IL-17; β = -0.74, p = 0.04; β = -0.53, p = 0.02). In vitamin D-deficient patients, serum 25(OH)D was positively associated with microvascular function by univariate and multivariate analysis after adjustment for confounders (β = 2.1, p = 0.04; β = 2.7, p = 0.04). Conclusion. Vitamin D deficiency in RA may affect Th17 responses and microvascular function. Maintaining normal serum vitamin D levels may protect against IL-17-mediated inflammation and vascular dysfunction in RA. The Journal of Rheumatology

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1529-1534
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Interleukin 17
  • Microvascular function
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vitamin D


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