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The Association of Vitamin D Receptor Polymorphisms with COVID-19 Severity

Tentolouris et al., Nutrients, doi:10.3390/nu16050727
Mar 2024  
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Case-control study of 137 COVID-19 patients and 72 controls in Greece showing an association between the TaqI vitamin D receptor polymorphism and increased risk of severe COVID-19, independent of potential confounders such as age, sex, and inflammation levels. Patients with the TaqI CC genotype had 2.5 times higher odds of severe illness compared to patients with the TC/TT genotypes. No significant associations were found between severity and the ApaI, BsmI or FokI polymorphisms studied.
Tentolouris et al., 2 Mar 2024, peer-reviewed, 11 authors.
This PaperVitamin DAll
The Association of Vitamin D Receptor Polymorphisms with COVID-19 Severity
Nikolaos Tentolouris, Charoula Achilla, Ioanna A Anastasiou, Ioanna Eleftheriadou, Anastasios Tentolouris, Dimitrios Basoulis, Ourania Kosta, Alexandros Lambropoulos, Maria P Yavropoulou, Anthoula Chatzikyriakidou, Edward B Jude
Nutrients, doi:10.3390/nu16050727
Background: Association studies of vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms with COVID-19 severity have produced inconsistent results in different populations. Herein we examined VDR gene polymorphisms in a Caucasian Greek cohort of COVID-19 patients. Methods: This was a case-control study in a tertiary university hospital in Greece including 137 COVID-19 patients with varying disease severities and 72 healthy individuals. In total 209 individuals were genotyped for the FokI (rs10735810), ApaI (rs7975232), TaqI (rs731236) and BsmI (rs1544410) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of the VDR gene by polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis (PCR-RFLPs). Statistical analyses were performed to determine the association between genotype and disease severity, adjusting for various confounding factors. Results: Genotype distribution of the studied VDR SNPs in the control group was in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The TaqI variant was differentially distributed between controls and COVID-19 patients according to the additive model (p = 0.009), and the CC genotype was significantly associated with an increased risk for severe COVID-19 according to the recessive model [OR: 2.52, 95%CI:1.2-5.29, p = 0.01]. Multivariate analysis demonstrated a robust association of COVID-19 severity and TaqI polymorphism in the recessive model even after adjusting for multiple confounders, including age, sex and CRP levels [Adj.OR:3.23, 95%CI:1.17-8.86, p = 0.023]. The distribution of FokI, ApaI and BsmI genotypes was similar between COVID-19 patients and controls. Conclusions: The CC genotype of TaqI polymorphism is significantly associated with an increased risk for severe COVID-19 independently of age, sex or degree of inflammation.
VDR polymorphisms and infection susceptibility. Finally, interethnic differences in the prevalence of infectious diseases and pathogen exposure patterns can influence the selective pressures acting on VDR and other immune-related genes among populations. These factors collectively highlight the importance of considering population-specific factors when studying the association between VDR polymorphisms and infection susceptibility [27, 28] . It is worth mentioning that our study has some limitations. First, this was a relatively small-sized study restricted to the broader urban area of Attiki in Greece. Second, no data were available regarding medication of COVID-19 patients in order to adjust for possible confounders in the outcomes of severe COVID-19. Third, the genetic analysis was restricted to four genetic variants of VDR, and no other genes that regulate or are related to vitamin D metabolism were assessed. Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first case-control study evaluating the association VDR polymorphisms and severity of COVID-19 in the Greek population. Our findings are in line with other studies showing a positive association of the TaqI C allele with COVID-19 morbidity [16, 29] . COVID-19 remains an important public health concern worldwide, and studies that investigate the impact of VDR polymorphisms in the severity of the disease across different populations are needed in order to pave the way towards a more patient-centric and..
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