Early life Vitamin D depletion alters the postnatal response to skeletal loading in growing and mature bone

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Copyright: © 2018 Borg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. There is increasing evidence of persistent effects of early life vitamin D exposure on later skeletal health; linking low levels in early life to smaller bone size in childhood as well as increased fracture risk later in adulthood, independently of later vitamin D status. A major determinant of bone mass acquisition across all ages is mechanical loading. We tested the hypothesis in an animal model system that early life vitamin D depletion results in abrogation of the response to mechanical loading, with consequent reduction in bone size, mass and strength during both childhood and adulthood. A murine model was created in which pregnant dams were either vitamin D deficient or replete, and their offspring moved to a vitamin D replete diet at weaning. Tibias of the offspring were mechanically loaded and bone structure, extrinsic strength and growth measured both during growth and after skeletal maturity. Offspring of vitamin D deplete mice demonstrated lower bone mass in the non loaded limb and reduced bone mass accrual in response to loading in both the growing skeleton and after skeletal maturity. Early life vitamin D depletion led to reduced bone strength and altered bone biomechanical properties. These findings suggest early life vitamin D status may, in part, determine the propensity to osteoporosis and fracture that blights later life in many individuals.




Borg, S. A., Buckley, H., Owen, R., Marin, A. C., Lu, Y., Eyles, D., … Bishop, N. J. (2018). Early life Vitamin D depletion alters the postnatal response to skeletal loading in growing and mature bone. PLoS ONE, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190675

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