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Vitamin D and schizophrenia: 20 years on

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisReviewForskningpeer review


  • Xiaoying Cui, University of Queensland, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research
  • ,
  • John J McGrath
  • Thomas H J Burne, University of Queensland, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research
  • ,
  • Darryl W Eyles, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, University of Queensland

Many epidemiological studies have highlighted the link between vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia. In particular, two prominent studies report an association between neonatal vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of schizophrenia. In parallel, much has been learnt about the role of vitamin D in the developing central nervous system over the last two decades. Studies in rodent models of developmental vitamin D (DVD)-deficiency describe how brain development is altered leading to a range of neurobiological and behavioral phenotypes of interest to schizophrenia. While glutamate and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) systems have been little investigated in these models, alterations in developing dopamine systems are frequently reported. There have been far more studies reporting patients with schizophrenia have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency compared to well controls. Here we have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that basically confirms this association and extends this to first-episode psychosis. However, patients with schizophrenia also have poorer general health, poorer diets, are frequently less active and also have an increased risk of other medical conditions, all factors which reduce circulating vitamin D levels. Therefore, we would urge caution in any causal interpretation of this association. We also summarize the inconsistent results from existing vitamin D supplementation trials in patients with schizophrenia. In respect to animal models of adult vitamin D deficiency, such exposures produce subtle neurochemical alterations and effects on cognition but do not appear to produce behavioral phenotypes of relevance to schizophrenia. We conclude, the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency during early life may increase the risk of schizophrenia remains plausible and warrants ongoing research.

TidsskriftMolecular Psychiatry
Sider (fra-til)2708-2720
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2021

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