No effect of 25-hydroxyvitamin D supplementation on the skeletal muscle transcriptome in vitamin D deficient frail older adults

Roland W. J. Hangelbroek, Anouk M. M. Vaes, Mark Boekschoten, Lex B. Verdijk, Guido J. E. J. Hooiveld, Luc J. C. van Loon, Lisette C. P. G. M. de Groot, Sander Kersten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


ObjectiveVitamin D deficiency is common among older adults and has been linked to muscle weakness. Vitamin D supplementation has been proposed as a strategy to improve muscle function in older adults. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of calcifediol (25-hydroxycholecalciferol) on whole genome gene expression in skeletal muscle of vitamin D deficient frail older adults.MethodsA double-blind placebo-controlled trial was conducted in vitamin D deficient frail older adults (aged above 65), characterized by blood 25-hydroxycholecalciferol concentrations between 20 and 50nmol/L. Subjects were randomized across the placebo group and the calcifediol group (10g per day). Muscle biopsies were obtained before and after 6 months of calcifediol (n=10) or placebo (n=12) supplementation and subjected to whole genome gene expression profiling using Affymetrix HuGene 2.1ST arrays.ResultsExpression of the vitamin D receptor gene was virtually undetectable in human skeletal muscle biopsies, with Ct values exceeding 30. Blood 25-hydroxycholecalciferol levels were significantly higher after calcifediol supplementation (87.320.6nmol/L) than after placebo (43.814.1nmol/L). No significant difference between treatment groups was observed on strength outcomes. The whole transcriptome effects of calcifediol and placebo were very weak, as indicated by the fact that correcting for multiple testing using false discovery rate did not yield any differentially expressed genes using any reasonable cut-offs (all q-values similar to similar to 1). P-values were uniformly distributed across all genes, suggesting that low p-values are likely to be false positives. Partial least squares-discriminant analysis and principle component analysis was unable to separate treatment groups.ConclusionCalcifediol supplementation did not significantly affect the skeletal muscle transcriptome in frail older adults. Our findings indicate that vitamin D supplementation has no effects on skeletal muscle gene expression, suggesting that skeletal muscle may not be a direct target of vitamin D in older adults.Trial registration p id=Par5 This study was registered at as NCT02349282 on January 28, 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Article number151
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2019


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • older adults
  • transcriptomics
  • skeletal muscle
  • MICE
  • VDR

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