Animal studies suggest a role of Vitamin D in fetal lung development although not studied in preterm animals. We tested the hypothesis that Vitamin D depletion aggravates respiratory insufficiency in preterm rat offspring. Furthermore, the effects of Vitamin D depletion on growth and lung surfactant were investigated. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned low Vitamin D (VDL) or control diet before mating and followed with serum 25- hydroxyVitamin D (s-25(OH)D) determinations. After cesarean section at gestational day 19 (E19) or day 22 (E22), placental weight, birth weight, crown-rump-length (CRL), oxygenation (SaO2) at 30 min and survival time were recorded. The pup lungs were analyzed for phospholipid levels, surfactant protein A-D mRNA and the expression of the Vitamin D receptor (VDR). S-25(OH)D was significantly lower in the VDL group at cesarean section (12 vs. 30nmol/L, p<0.0001). Compared to the controls, E19 VDL pups had lower birth weight (2.13 vs. 2.29g, p<0.001), lung weight (0.09 vs. 0.10g, p = 0.002), SaO2 (54% vs. 69%, p = 0.002) as well as reduced survival time (0.50 vs. 1.25h, p<0.0001). At E22, the VDL-induced pulmonary differences were leveled out, but VDL pups had lower CRL (4.0 vs. 4.5cm, p<0.0001). The phospholipid levels and the surfactant protein mRNA expression did not differ between the dietary groups. In conclusion, Vitamin D depletion led to lower oxygenation and reduced survival time in the preterm offspring, associated with reduced lung weight and birth weight. Further studies of Vitamin D depletion in respiratory insufficiency in preterm neonates are warranted.
S., L., G.L., S., S.S., B.-N., B., P., L., D., N., M., & H.T., C. (2016). Vitamin D depletion in pregnancy decreases survival time, oxygen saturation, lung weight and body weight in preterm rat offspring. PLoS ONE, 11(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155203