Vitamin D deficiency and its role in muscle-bone interactions in the elderly

Kerrie M. Sanders, David Scott, Peter R. Ebeling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


In this commentary, we focus on common 'downstream' links of vitamin D between muscle and bone health. Both direct and indirect effects of 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)D) link the mutual age-related decline in muscle function and bone density, independent of physical activity. Changes in calcium absorption associated with vitamin D deficiency affect both muscle and bone mass. The age-related decline in vitamin D receptor expression and 1,25(OH)D activity impact on proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor -α and interleukin-6 in skeletal muscle and vitamin D deficiency appears to enhance both bone marrow adipogenesis and intramuscular adipose tissue impacting as reduced functionality in both skeletal tissues. Controversial findings on the role of 1,25(OH)D on skeletal muscle may relate to differences in vitamin D receptor expression throughout different stages of muscle cell differentiation. Prolonged vitamin D insufficiency in the elderly is associated with reductions in both bone mineral density and type 2 muscle fibers with the outcomes of skeletal fragility in combination with reduced muscle power, leading to increased risk of falls and fracture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-81
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Osteoporosis Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone fractures
  • Elderly
  • Interaction
  • Muscle
  • Osteoporosis
  • Physical function
  • Review
  • Sarcopenia
  • Vitamin D deficiency

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