Vitamin D deficiency, hypocalcemia, and increased skeletal muscle degradation in rats

S. J. Wassner, J. B. Li, A. Sperduto, M. E. Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The myopathy associated with vitamin D deficiency was examined in vitamin D-deficient and vitamin D-supplemented rats. When compared with either vitamin D-supplemented ad lib. or pair-fed rats, weight gain and muscle mass were decreased in vitamin D-deficient hypocalcemic animals. With the exception of a modest decrease in muscle creatine phosphate levels, muscle composition was unchanged by vitamin D deficiency. Muscle protein turnover rates were determined in both in vivo and in vitro studies and demonstrated that myofibrillar protein degradation was increased in vitamin D deficiency. Normal growth rates could be maintained by feeding the rats vitamin D-deficient diets containing 1.6% calcium, which maintained plasma calcium within the normal range. In addition to its role in maintaining plasma calcium, vitamin D-supplemented rats had significantly higher levels of the anabolic hormone insulin. Vitamin D supplementation may affect muscle protein turnover by preventing hypocalcemia, as well as well as directly stimulating insulin secretion, rather than by a direct effect within skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-112
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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