Beyond its well-established role in the maintenance of mineral homeostasis, 25-OH-vitamin D deficiency seems to be involved in the development and severity of several autoimmune diseases. To date, contrasting data have been reported regarding the presence of hypovitaminosis D in primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS). To assess the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in pSS at an early stage of the disease and to evaluate its impact on pSS clinical manifestations and disease activity, unselected consecutive subjects with recent onset dry mouth and/or dry eyes who underwent a comprehensive diagnostic algorithm for pSS (AECG criteria) were prospectively included in the study. The levels of 25[OH]-D3 were measured by monoclonal antibody immunoradiometric assay. Conditions of 25[OH]-D3 severe deficiency, deficiency, and insufficiency were defined as levels <10, <20, and 20-30 ng/ml, respectively, and their frequencies were investigated in pSS patients and controls. The levels of 25[OH]-D3 were also correlated with patients' demographic, clinical, and serologic features. Seventy-six consecutive females were included: 30/76 patients fulfilled the AECG criteria for pSS. The remaining 46/76 patients represented the control group. No statistical differences were found in the serum levels of 25[OH]-D3 between pSS patients [median levels = 20 ng/ml (IQR 9.3-26)] and controls [median levels = 22.5 ng/ml (IQR 15.6-33)]. In particular, the frequency of 25[OH]-D3 severe deficiency was not significantly different in patients with pSS when compared to controls (23 vs. 17.4 %, p value = 0.24). We found a significant correlation between serum 25[OH]-D3 levels and white blood cells count (r = 0.29, p = 0.01). More specifically, leukocytopenia was significantly associated with 25[OH]-D3 severe deficiency, being documented in 40 % of the subjects with a 25[OH]-D3 severe deficiency and in 11 % of the subjects without a severe vitamin D deficiency (p = 0.02). We did not observe any further association or correlation between hypovitaminosis D and pSS glandular and extra-glandular features. Although the role of hypovitaminosis D in pSS pathogenesis remains controversial, the results of this study encourage the assessment of vitamin D in specific pSS subsets that could mostly benefit from a supplementation.
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