Characterizing neonatal vitamin D deficiency in the modern era: A maternal-neonatal birth cohort from Southern Europe

Spyridon N. Karras, Theocharis Koufakis, Vasiliki Antonopoulou, Dimitrios G. Goulis, Cedric Annweiler, Stefan Pilz, Helen Bili, Declan P. Naughton, Iltaf Shah, Vikentia Harizopoulou, Pantelis Zebekakis, Alkiviadis Bais, Kalliopi Kotsa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Absence of adequate maternal vitamin D supplementation and decreased maternal ultraviolet exposure during pregnancy are key determinants for the manifestation of neonatal hypovitaminosis D at birth. These parameters may vary, according to country-specific dietary patterns, health policies and sunshine exposure. We aimed to investigate differences in calcium metabolism and anthropometric profiles according to neonatal vitamin D status at birth, in a sunny region of Northern Greece. A secondary aim was to identify maternal parameters as risk factors for developing neonatal vitamin D deficiency at birth. A total of 129 mother-neonate pairs were included in the study and classified into three groups, according to neonatal 25-hydroxy-D [25(OH)D)] concentrations at birth [deficiency (<30 nmol/l), insufficiency (30−50 nmol/l) and sufficiency (>50 nmol/l)]. Neonatal biochemical and anthropometric profiles and maternal demographic, social, dietary and biochemical profiles were comparatively evaluated between the three groups. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify independent associations of maternal factors with neonatal vitamin D status. Vitamin D deficient-neonates manifested higher parathyroid hormone (7.20 ± 2.60 vs 5.50 ± 1.50 pg/ml, p = 0.01) and lower corrected calcium (10.70 ± 0.70 vs 11.30 ± 1.30 mg/dl, p = 0.02) concentrations compared with vitamin D-insufficient neonates. Mothers of vitamin D deficient and insufficient neonates had a lower total of 25(OH)D (31.7 ± 19.2 and 36.5 ± 22.3 vs 53.3 ± 39.0 nmol/l, p < 0.01) and 25(OH)D3 (27.4 ± 17.5 and 33.3 ± 19.9 vs 47.3 ± 36.7 nmol/l, p < 0.01 and p = 0.04, respectively) concentrations respectively, compared with those of vitamin D-sufficient neonates. Maternal use of alcohol during pregnancy was associated with a 5.57-fold higher risk for neonatal vitamin D deficiency at birth (OR 5.57, 95 % CI1.17–26.56, p = 0.03). Newborns with vitamin D deficiency presented a 6.89-fold higher risk of having been given birth by vitamin D deficient mothers (OR 6.89, 95 % CI 3.09–15.38, p < 0.01). In conclusion, neonatal vitamin D deficiency is associated with maternal 25(OH)D concentrations at birth and maternal alcohol use. Further studies are required to replicate these findings in other regions and populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105555
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Calcium
  • Neonatal health
  • Pregnancy
  • Rickets
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterizing neonatal vitamin D deficiency in the modern era: A maternal-neonatal birth cohort from Southern Europe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this