Background: Pulmonary hypertension (PH), caused by elevated pulmonary vascular resistance, leads to right heart failure and ultimately death. Vitamin D deficiency can predispose individuals to hypertension and left ventricular dysfunction; however, it remains unknown how serum vitamin D level is related to PH and right ventricular (RV) dysfunction. Methods: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels were assessed in PH patients for an association with disease severity. To examine whether vitamin D supplementation could prevent the development of pulmonary vascular remodeling and RV dysfunction in PH, a rat model of PH was fed either normal chow or a high vitamin D diet. Results: The majority (95.1%) of PH patients had 25(OH)D levels in the insufficiency range, which is associated with increased mean pulmonary artery pressure, increased pulmonary vascular resistance, and decreased cardiac output in PH patients. Vitamin D supplementation significantly increased serum 25(OH)D levels and improved survival in PH rats. Interestingly, while the supplemented rats retained the typical increases in medial thickness of the muscular pulmonary arteries and RV systolic pressure, RV cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and B-type natriuretic peptide expression was significantly attenuated. Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is frequently seen in patients diagnosed with PH and low serum levels of 25(OH)D are associated with severity of PH and RV dysfunction. Vitamin D supplementation in PH rats improved survival via ameliorating pathological RV hypertrophy. These findings suggest an insufficient intake of vitamin D might potentially accelerate RV dysfunction, leading to a crucial clinical impact of vitamin D supplementation in PH.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)