No effect of calcifediol supplementation on skeletal muscle transcriptome in vitamin D deficient frail older adults



Vitamin 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. A 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 50 nmol/L. Subjects were randomized across the placebo group (n=12) and the calcifediol group (n=10, 10 µg per day). Muscle biopsies were obtained before and after six months of calcifediol or placebo supplementation and subjected to whole genome gene expression profiling using Affymetrix HuGene 2.1ST arrays. Expression of the vitamin D receptor gene was virtually undetectable in human skeletal muscle biopsies. Calcifediol supplementation led to a significant increase in blood 25-hydroxycholecalciferol levels compared to the placebo group. No difference between treatment groups was observed on strength outcomes. The whole transcriptome effects of calcifediol and placebo were very weak. Correcting for multiple testing using false discovery rate did not yield any differentially expressed genes using any sensible cut-offs. 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. Calcifediol supplementation did not 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.
Date made available10 Jun 2019
PublisherWageningen University


  • Homo sapiens

Accession numbers

  • GSE123993
  • PRJNA510436

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