The relationship of hypovitaminosis D and IL-6 in preeclampsia

Lai Xu, Minjae Lee, Arun Jeyabalan, James M. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Objective Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Given the demonstrated antiinflammatory function of vitamin D in multiple organ systems including trophoblast cells and placenta, we hypothesized that vitamin D deficiency contributes to the development of preeclampsia through increased inflammation, as indicated by elevated interleukin (IL)-6 concentrations. Study Design Plasma samples from a large preeclampsia cohort study were examined in 100 preeclamptic and 100 normotensive pregnant women. Comparisons of vitamin D and IL-6 concentrations used Student t test and χ2 test or their nonparametric counterparts. A logistic regression model assessed the association among vitamin D, IL-6 concentrations, and preeclampsia risk. Results The mean concentration of 25-hydroxyvitamin D was 49.4 ± 22.6 nmol/L in normotensives and 42.3 ± 17.3 nmol/L in preeclamptic women (P =.01). The median (interquartile range: Q1, Q3) concentrations of IL-6 were 2.0 (1.3, 3.4) pg/mL and 4.4 (2.2, 10.0) pg/mL in the control and preeclampsia groups, respectively (P <.01). We observed a significant association between IL-6 elevation and preeclampsia (odds ratio, 4.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.8-10.8; P <.01) and between vitamin D deficiency and preeclampsia (odds ratio, 4.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-12.8; P =.04). However, there was no association between vitamin D deficiency and IL-6 elevation. Conclusion Third-trimester IL-6 elevation and vitamin D deficiency were independently associated with the risk of preeclampsia. We found no evidence to support the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency alters the pathogenesis of preeclampsia by activation of inflammation as assessed by IL-6 concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149.e1-149.e7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • inflammation
  • interleukin-6
  • preeclampsia
  • pregnancy
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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