C-3 epimers can account for a significant proportion of total circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D in infants, complicating accurate measurement and interpretation of vitamin D status

Ravinder J. Singh, Robert L. Taylor, G. Satyanarayana Reddy, Stefan K.G. Grebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

328 Scopus citations


Context: We have recently introduced liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 (25OHD2) and 25OHD3 testing. During subsequent clinical use, we identified significantly elevated results in some infants. We hypothesized this might represent assay interference caused by C-3 epimers of 25OHD2 or 25OHD3. Objective: Our aims were to 1) determine the prevalence of C-3 epimers of 25OHD2 or 25OHD3 in human serum, and 2) identify the patient populations that might be affected. Study Design: We modified our LC-MS/MS method to allow detection of C-3 epimers. We retested specimens from four patient groups with the new method and an extracted RIA: 1) children less than 1 yr old, 2) children 1-18 yr old, 3) adults aged 20-87 yr with liver disease, and 4) adults aged 19-91 yr without liver disease. Results: In 172 children from group 1 with detectable 25OHD2 or 25OHD 2, we identified C-3 epimers in 39 (22.7%). The epimers contributed 8.7-61.1% of the total 25-OHD. There was an inverse relationship between patient age and epimer percentage (r = 0.48; P < 0.002). The RIA gave accurate 25-OHD results that correlated with the modified LC-MS/MS method. No C-3 epimers were detected in any of the other groups. Conclusions: Significant concentrations of C-3 epimers of 25OHD2 or 25OHD3 are commonly found in infants. This can lead to overestimation of 25-OHD levels. Measurements in children less than 1 yr should therefore be performed with an assay that allows accurate detection of 25-OHD in the presence of its C-3 epimers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3055-3061
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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