Examining the Relationship Between Vitamin D and Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for multiple sclerosis.
The following article is part of live conference coverage from the 2018 ACTRIMS Forum in San Diego, California. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from ACTRIMS 2018.

Vitamin D may play a protective role in patients with either primary or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), according to research presented at the 2018 Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum, held February 1-3 in San Diego, California.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio sought to examine the relationship between the clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of progressive MS and levels of serum vitamin D. Data from 267 patients with either primary or secondary progressive MS were collected from the phase 2 clinical trial (Safety, Tolerability, and Activity Study of Ibudilast in Subjects With Progressive Multiple Sclerosis; NN102/SPRINT-MS; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01982942). The study participants (age: 55.6±7.4; 47.2% men; 51.3% primary progressive MS) had both baseline MRI and vitamin D data available.

Across both groups of patients, vitamin D3 and total vitamin D levels were similar (40.7 vs 39.9 ng/mL and 43.8 vs 42.9 ng/mL, respectively). Positive associations were noted between vitamin D3 level and whole brain matter MT ratio (r=0.17; P =.007), normal-appearing brain tissue MT ratio (r=0.12; P =.07), and normal-appearing grey matter MT ratio (r=0.15; P =.02); associations with total vitamin D were not significant.

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Following multivariate analysis, the association between vitamin D3 level and whole brain MT ratio remained significant (P =.02). No significant association between either vitamin D3 or total vitamin D levels and T2 or T1 lesion volumes were made.

“Vitamin D may carry a protective role in myelin content in progressive [patients with MS],” the researchers concluded.


Abbatemarco JR, Fox RJ, Li H, Ontaneda DD. Vitamin D levels and MS measures in progressive multiple sclerosis. Presented at: ACTRIMS Forum 2018. February 1-3, 2018; San Diego, California. Abstract P209.