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Constitutive melanin density is associated with higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D and potentially total body BMD in older Caucasian adults via increased sun tolerance and exposure

Thompson, MJW, Jones, G ORCID: 0000-0002-9814-0006 and Aitken, DA ORCID: 0000-0001-5685-7634 2018 , 'Constitutive melanin density is associated with higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D and potentially total body BMD in older Caucasian adults via increased sun tolerance and exposure' , Osteoporosis International , pp. 1-9 , doi: 10.1007/s00198-018-4568-8.

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Summary: Greater skin pigmentation reduces dose equivalent cutaneous vitamin D3 production, potentially impacting lifetime vitamin D status and fracture risk. We show that melanin density was positively associated with 25-hydroxyvitamin D and total body bone mineral density. These relationships were partially explained by greater sun exposure due to more permissive skin phenotype.Introduction: Higher cutaneous melanin reduces vitamin D3 production. This may impact lifetime vitamin D status and increase fracture risk. This study aimed to describe the relationship between spectrophotometrically determined constitutive melanin density, osteoporotic risk factors and potential intermediaries in a cohort of exclusively older Caucasian adults.Methods: One thousand seventy-two community-dwelling adults aged 50-80 years had constitutive melanin density quantified using spectrophotometry. Sun exposure, skin phenotype, non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) prevalence and smoking status were assessed by questionnaire. Bone mineral density (BMD), falls risk, physical activity and 25-hydroxyvitamin D were measured using DXA, the short form Physiological Profile Assessment, pedometer and radioimmunoassay, respectively.Results: Higher melanin density was independently associated with greater ability to tan (RR = 1.27, p p p = 0.01), current smoking (RR = 1.41, p p p = 0.01). The associations between melanin density and sun exposure (RR = 1.05-1.11, p p p = 0.001) were no longer significant after taking into account skin phenotype and sun exposure, respectively. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D was strongly associated with higher melanin density (β = 1.71-2.05, p = 0.001). The association between melanin density and total body BMD (β = 0.007, p = 0.04) became non-significant after adjustment for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. There was no association between melanin density and physical activity, falls risk or BMD at other sites.Conclusions: Our data support a model of higher constitutive melanin density underpinning a less photosensitive skin phenotype, permitting greater sun exposure with fewer sequelae and yielding higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D and, potentially, total body BMD.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Thompson, MJW and Jones, G and Aitken, DA
Keywords: BMD, fracture risk, melanin density, skin pigmentation, vitamin D
Journal or Publication Title: Osteoporosis International
Publisher: Springer-Verlag London Ltd
ISSN: 0937-941X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s00198-018-4568-8
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Copyright 2018 International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation

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