Paper of the Month - August/September 2015

Moghimi E, Solomon JA, Gianforcaro A, Hamadeh MJ. Dietary Vitamin D3 Restriction Exacerbates Disease Pathophysiology in the Spinal Cord of the G93A Mouse Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. PLoS One. 2015 May 28;10(5):e0126355.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a debilitating neuromuscular disease that results in motor neuron degeneration. As a result, there is progressive muscular degeneration which ultimately results in respiratory failure within 3-5 years. Vitamin D (or "the sunshine vitamin") is well-known for its anti-oxidative properties and works on many of the molecular pathways that are adversely affected in ALS. In fact, studies have shown that most ALS patients are vitamin D deficient and that supplementation of the vitamin may slow disease progression. Thus, our study investigated the effects of vitamin D restriction (1/40th the Adequate Intake-AI) in the G93A mouse model of ALS. It was found that vitamin D restriction exacerbates disease pathophysiology. When compared to G93A mice supplemented with adequate intake levels of vitamin D, females had higher inflammation and GPX1, a compensatory response to molecular damage. Males had higher levels of lipid peroxidation and lower antioxidant capacity. Thus, the despite the exacerbation of ALS pathophysiology due to vitamin D restriction, the damaging effects are sex specific. It is hypothesized that sex hormones play a strong role in the body's protective effects against the disease.