First published December 1, 1984 - More info
We measured the free concentration of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D) using centrifugal ultrafiltration, and the level of vitamin D-binding protein (DBP) in 24 normal subjects, 17 pregnant subjects, and 25 alcoholic subjects with liver disease. Our objective was to determine whether the increase in total 1,25(OH)2D levels in pregnant women and the reduction in total 1,25(OH)2D levels in subjects with liver disease reflected a true difference in free 1,25(OH)2D levels or whether such differences were due solely to the variations in DBP levels (and thus, the amount of 1,25[OH]2D bound) in these groups. In subjects with liver disease the mean total 1,25(OH)2D concentration (22.6 +/- 12.5 pg/ml) and the mean DBP concentration (188 +/- 105 micrograms/dl) were nearly half the normal values (41.5 +/- 11.5 pg/ml and 404 +/- 124 micrograms/dl, respectively, P less than 0.001), whereas the mean free 1,25(OH)2D level was similar to normal values (209 +/- 91 fg/ml and 174 +/- 46 fg/ml, respectively). In contrast, in pregnant subjects the mean total 1,25(OH)2D level (82 +/- 21 pg/ml) and mean DBP level (576 +/- 128 micrograms/dl) were significantly higher than normal (P less than 0.001). Although the mean percent free 1,25(OH)2D level in pregnant subjects was below normal (0.359 +/- 0.07% vs. 0.424 +/- 0.07%, P less than 0.001), the mean free 1,25(OH)2D level was 69% higher than normal (294 +/- 98 fg/ml vs. 174 +/- 46 fg/ml, P less than 0.001). When data from all three groups were combined, there was a linear correlation between total 1,25(OH)2D and DBP levels but not between DBP and percent free 1,25(OH)2D levels; the increased DBP levels in the pregnant subjects were associated with less of an effect on percent free 1,25(OH)2D than were the reduced DBP levels in the subjects with liver disease. Our data suggest that (a) free 1,25(OH)2D levels appear to be well maintained even in subjects with liver disease and reduced DBP levels, (b) free 1,25(OH)2D levels are increased during pregnancy despite the increase in DBP levels, and (c) free 1,25(OH)2D levels cannot be inferred accurately from measurements of total 1,25(OH)2D and DBP levels alone in subjects with various physiologic and pathophysiologic conditions.