AMSTERDAM—Vitamin D levels are inversely associated with the risk of MS activity on brain MRI, according to data presented at the ECTRIMS/ACTRIMS 5th Joint Triennial Congress. Begun in 2004, EPIC is a five-year longitudinal MS cohort study that sought to determine if vitamin D status is associated with the development of new T2 lesions or contrast-enhancing lesions on brain MRI in a cohort of patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) or relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). Participants had clinical evaluations, brain MRI, and blood draws annually. From the overall cohort, researchers evaluated patients who had a diagnosis of CIS or RRMS at baseline visit. In univariate and multivariate (adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, smoking status, and the use of MS treatments), annual 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels were evaluated for their association with the development of new T2-weighted lesions and gadolinium-enhancing T1-weighted lesions on brain MRI as well as with the occurrence of clinical relapses of MS.
A total of 469 subjects were studied and 2,362 3T brain MRI scans were acquired and analyzed. In multivariate analyses, each 10 ng/mL higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 level was associated with a 15% lower risk of developing a new T2 lesion and a 32% lower risk of a gadolinium-enhancing lesion. Higher vitamin D levels were associated with a lower relapse risk, although the association did not reach statistical significance.