Shivakumar V, Kalmady SV, Amaresha AC, Jose D, Narayanaswamy JC, Agarwal SM, Joseph B, Venkatasubramanian G, Ravi V, Keshavan MS, Gangadhar BN (2015) Psychiatry Res. 233(2) 175-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.06.006.
Disparate lines of evidence including epidemiological and case-control studies have increasingly implicated vitamin D in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to dysfunction of the hippocampus - a brain region hypothesized to be critically involved in schizophrenia.
In this study, we examined for potential association between serum vitamin D level and hippocampal gray matter volume in antipsychotic-naïve or antipsychotic-free schizophrenia patients (n = 35). Serum vitamin D level was estimated using 25-OH vitamin D immunoassay. Optimized voxel-based morphometry was used to analyze 3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (1-mm slice thickness). Ninety-seven percent of the schizophrenia patients (n = 34) had sub-optimal levels of serum vitamin D (83%, deficiency; 14%, insufficiency).
A significant positive correlation was seen between vitamin D and regional gray matter volume in the right hippocampus after controlling for age, years of education and total intracranial volume (Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) coordinates: x = 35, y = -18, z = -8; t = 4.34 pFWE(Corrected) = 0.018).
These observations support a potential role of vitamin D deficiency in mediating hippocampal volume deficits, possibly through neurotrophic, neuroimmunomodulatory and glutamatergic effects.
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