By Emily Delzell
Vitamin D deficiency may underlie race-specific pain patterns in patients with osteoarthritis (OA), according to researchers from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
In a November study e-published in Arthritis and Rheumatism, the investigators found that blacks, who reported more OA-related pain at baseline than whites, also had significantly lower levels of vitamin D and greater sensitivity to experimental—though not clinical—pain. Vitamin D deficiency may fuel chronic inflammation, which, in turn, may lead to the development and progression of diseases linked to systemic inflammation, such as OA.
Researchers recruited 94 volunteers (70 women), including 45 blacks and 49 whites with symptomatic knee OA (average age, 55.8 years). Participants completed a questionnaire on knee OA symptoms and underwent testing for heat and mechanical pain sensitivity.
The researchers found low levels of vitamin D predicted increased experimental pain sensitivity and hypothesized that the lack of effect on clinical OA pain may have been due to the retrospective nature of the pain assessment or the multifactorial nature of OA symptoms.
Glover TL, Goodin BR, Horgas AL, et al. Vitamin D, race, and experimental pain sensitivity in older adults with knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2012 Nov 7. [Epub ahead of print.]