Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 629–633 | Cite as

Severe deficiency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25-OH-D3) is associated with high disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis

  • Hans-Jacob Haga
  • Anne Schmedes
  • Yusuf Naderi
  • Alicia Martin Moreno
  • Elisabeth Peen
Original Article


This study aims to measure the serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25-OH-D3) in 302 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), studying the association to disease activity. Three hundred two RA patients underwent clinical examination and serological analysis. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Vitamin D3 deficiency defined as serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 below 50 nmol/l was detected in 101 RA patients (33.4 %). There was no significant correlation between the serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS28) (3w) score. In a subpopulation of RA patients with very low serum level of 25-OH-D3 (≤15 nmol/l) (n = 15), there were significant differences compared to patients with normal 25-OH-D3 (n = 200): higher percentage of patients with positive rheumatoid factor (100.0 versus 77.5 %; p = 0.05), higher CRP (28.7 versus 14.8 mg/l; p = 0.001), higher number of patients treated with at least three disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) (40.0 versus 14.5 %; p = 0.02), higher number of patients with high disease activity DAS28 score of ≥5.1 (20.0 versus 4.5 %; p = 0.01), lower age (54.5 versus 64.0 years; p = 0.003) and shorter disease duration (5.1 versus 10.3 years; p = 0.06). Deficiency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 was detected in 33.4 % of the RA patients. A subpopulation of patients with severe deficiency of vitamin D3 serum level of ≤15 nmol/l was characterised by all being positive for rheumatoid factor, high percentage of patients with very high disease activity and high percentage of patients treated with at least three DMARDs.


Disease activity Rheumatoid arthritis Vitamin D3 (25-OH-D3



We are grateful for the excellent help given by the clinical and laboratory staff at the Department of Rheumatology at Sydvestjysk Sygehus, especially Dorte Terp Andersen, Lone Sommer, Karin Bundesen, Jytte Krause and Pia Rasmussen. We are grateful to the Kvinherrad Rheumatism Association and Stord Rheumatism Association for their funding of the project. We also thank the patients for their participation.




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Copyright information

© Clinical Rheumatology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Jacob Haga
    • 1
  • Anne Schmedes
    • 2
  • Yusuf Naderi
    • 3
  • Alicia Martin Moreno
    • 4
  • Elisabeth Peen
    • 1
  1. 1.Reumaklinik DanmarkAalborg University EsbjergEsbjergDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Clinical BiochemistryLillebaelt HospitalVejleDenmark
  3. 3.Department of RheumatologySydvestjysk SygehusEsbjergDenmark
  4. 4.Department of UrologyThe National HospitalCopenhagenDenmark

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