In observational, but not interventional, studies there are strong associations between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and serum lipids. The purpose of the present study was to examine potential causes of this association.
A total of 17,411 subjects participating in the seventh survey of the Tromsø Study were included in the cross-sectional study; 5384 subjects who participated in both the sixth and seventh survey were included in the longitudinal study; 2365 subjects who participated in both the fourth and seventh survey were included in the genetic study; and 479 subjects with impaired glucose tolerance were included in the vitamin D binding protein (DBP) analyses.
For serum 25(OH)D, there were strong and positive associations with LDL-, HDL-, and total-cholesterol, and a negative association with triglycerides that remained after adjustment for gender, age, BMI, diet, supplements, and lifestyle factors. These associations were seen in winter as well as summer. Except for serum cholesterol, change of season for blood sampling did not affect lipid levels. However, when analyzing separately, subjects with low or no intake of vitamin D supplements, fish oil and fat fish, only the association between 25(OH)D and HDL-cholesterol remained significant. Serum DBP or single-nucleotide polymorphisms related to 25(OH)D had no relation to lipid levels.
The associations between 25(OH)D and lipids (except for HDL-cholesterol) can be explained by known confounding factors. However, for HDL-cholesterol, the cause of the association with 25(OH)D still remains unknown.
High serum thyrotropin (TSH) levels predict cardiovascular disease (CVD). Recently several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with TSH levels have been identified, one of them being the rs4704397 SNP in the phosphodiesterase 8B (PDE8B) gene. If the relation between thyroid function and CVD is causal, one could also expect rs4704397 genotypes to predict CVD and possibly health in general.
DNA was prepared and genotyping performed for rs4704397 in subjects who participated in the fourth survey of the Tromsø Study in 1994-1995 and who were registered with the endpoints myocardial infarction (MI), type 2 diabetes (T2DM), cancer, or death, as well as a randomly selected control group. Similarly, genotyping was performed in subjects who had participated in clinical trials where serum TSH, free T4 (fT4), and free T3 (fT3) were measured.
From the Tromsø Study, 8938 subjects without thyroid disease or thyroid medication were successfully genotyped for rs4704397. Among these, 2098 were registered with MI, 1025 with T2DM, 2748 with cancer, and 3592 had died. The minor homozygote genotype (A:A) had a median serum TSH level that was 0.29?mIU/L higher than in the major homozygote genotype (G:G). The A:A genotype had a significantly increased risk of MI as compared to the G:G genotype (1.14 [1.00-1.29], hazard ratio [confidence interval], Cox regression with adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index). No significant associations were seen with the other endpoints or CVD risk factors. Furthermore, subjects with the G:G genotype were significantly taller than subjects with the A:A genotype (mean difference 1.5?cm). In 584 subjects with serum TSH, fT4, and fT3 measurements, the subjects with the A:A genotype had significantly higher serum TSH and nonsignificantly lower serum fT3 (mean difference 0.15?pmol/L) levels than subjects with the G:G genotype.
rs4704397 is associated with thyroid function, risk of MI, and body height. However, confirmation in other cohorts is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn.
Serum calcium measured in 27,158 subjects in 1994 and the calcium-sensing receptor polymorphism rs17251221 genotyped in 9,404 subjects were related to cardiovascular risk factors, incident myocardial infarction (MI), type 2 diabetes (T2DM), cancer and death during follow-up until 2008-2010. In a Cox regression model with adjustment for age, gender, smoking and body mass index, subjects with serum calcium 2.50-2.60 mmol/L had a significantly increased risk of incident MI [n = 1,802, hazards ratio (HR) 1.40, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.18, 1.66] and T2DM (n = 705, HR 1.49, 95 % CI 1.15, 1.94) and a significantly reduced risk of cancer (n = 2,222, HR 0.73, 95 % CI 0.62, 0.86) as compared to subjects with serum calcium 2.20-2.29 mmol/L. For rs17251221 there was a mean difference in serum calcium of 0.05 mmol/L between major and minor homozygote genotypes. No consistent, significant relation between rs17251221 and risk factors or the major hard endpoints were found. The minor homozygote genotype (high serum calcium) had a significant twofold increased risk (HR 2.32, 95 % CI 1.24, 4.36) for prostate cancer, as compared to the major homozygote. This may be clinically important if confirmed in other cohorts.