Certain Vitamin D Receptor Polymorphisms Correlated with Vitiligo Susceptibility

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New research demonstrated a correlation between specific VDR polymorphisms and patients’ liability of having vitiligo.

A recent meta-analysis found that ApaI and BsmI vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms were correlated with vitiligo susceptibility.

The analysis, led by Young Ho Lee, MD, PhD, of Korea University Medicine’s Department of Rheumatology, was conducted to explore the association between VDR polymorphisms and patients’ susceptibility to the depigmentation illness.

Previous investigations into VDR polymorphisms and vitiligo susceptibility led to conflicting data, with some studies establishing a correlation and others finding none.

“These disparities are likely due to the small sample sizes, low statistical power, and/or clinical heterogeneity,” Lee and colleagues wrote. “To overcome the limitations of individual studies, resolve discrepancies, and reduce the likelihood of random errors being responsible for false-positive or false-negative associations, we conducted an updated meta-analysis to identify whether VDR ApaI, TaqI, BsmI, and TaqI polymorphisms are correlated to vitiligo susceptibility.”


The investigators’ meta-analysis included 13 total papers with 2,034 patients and 2,771 control group participants, using several databases to assess studies on the subject. In their analysis, the investigators employed homozygote contrast, allelic contrast, and recessive/dominant models.

They included studies if they met the following inclusion criteria: they were case-control studies; they examined VDR polymorphisms in vitiligo and control groups; adequate data was included to develop an odds ratio (OR).

Studies were excluded if they contained overlapping data, if they could not find the numbers of null and wild genotypes/alleles, or if they were studies in which family members had been analyzed—a transmission disequilibrium test, for example—because those would be based on linkage considerations.


The investigators meta-analysis found that of the 15 papers chosen for full-text review, 11 studies analyzed the VDR ApaI polymorphism, 12 analyzed the VDR TaqI polymorphism, 7 investigated the BsmI polymorphism, and 8 examined the VDR FokI polymorphism.

Their meta-analysis of the VDR ApaI polymorphism determined there was no correlation between vitiligo and the VDR ApaI A allele (OR = 0.889, 95% CI = 0.713–1.109, P = 0.298) in the European, Asian, Arab and Latin American populations assessed. However, in the Asian population exclusively, they found a correlation between the VDR ApaI A allele and vitiligo (OR = 0.721, 95% CI = 0.553–0.940, P = 0.016).

“Based on the underlying ethnic variations, our results highlight the necessity for further research into the links between VDR polymorphisms and vitiligo in diverse ethnic groups,” they wrote. “To fully understand the significance of VDR gene variants in the development of vitiligo, large-scale research on people of various ethnicities is required.”

The study, “Association between vitamin D receptor polymorphisms and vitiligo susceptibility: An updated meta-analysis,” was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.