Associations between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and prevalent asthma among children living in communities with differing levels of urbanization: a cross-sectional study

Suzanne L. Pollard, John J. Lima, Karina Romero, Carla Tarazona-Meza, Edward Mougey, Katherine Tomaino, Gary Malpartida-Guzmán, Nadia N. Hansel, William Checkley and GASP Study Investigators

Abstract

Background

Prior evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of asthma and atopy and impair pulmonary function in children.

Methods

In this cross-sectional analysis nested in a case-control study, we analyzed serum 25(OH)D concentrations in 413 children with asthma and 471 children without asthma living in two geographically adjacent study communities (Pampas and Villa El Salvador). We measured total and antigen-specific IgE levels, pulmonary function, asthma control, and exhaled nitric oxide.

Results

Mean 25(OH)D concentrations were 25.2 ng/mL (SD 10.1) in children with asthma and 26.1 ng/mL (SD 13.7) in children without asthma (p = 0.28). Vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D < 20 ng/ml) was more common in Pampas than in Villa El Salvador (52.7% vs. 10.5%; p < 0.001). In the overall study population, a 10 ng/ml decrease in serum 25(OH)D concentrations was not significantly associated with odds of asthma (OR 1.09, 95% CI: 0.94 to 1.25). However, vitamin D deficiency was associated with a 1.6-fold increase in odds of asthma in the overall cohort (95% CI: 1.14 to 2.25). After stratifying by site, a 10 ng/mL decrease in serum 25(OH)D concentrations was associated with 18% higher odds of having asthma in Pampas (OR = 1.18, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.38), whereas there was no significant association between 25(OH)D concentrations and asthma in Villa El Salvador (OR = 0.95, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.05). Combined data from these geographically adjacent populations suggests a possible threshold for the relationship between 25(OH)D levels and asthma at approximately 27.5 ng/ml. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were not clearly associated with asthma control, total serum IgE, atopy, or airway inflammation.

Conclusion

Serum 25(OH)D concentrations were inversely associated with asthma in one study community with a high prevalence of deficiency. Studies are needed to investigate a possible threshold 25(OH)D concentration after which higher vitamin D levels show no further benefit for asthma.

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Editor: Juan C. Ivancevich, MD

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