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Study revealed vitamin-D Deficiency Associated to Skin Pigmentation

This was the primary genome-wide association study of skin pigmentation in African Americans, consistent with the study authors.

Researchers during a City of Hope-led data study conducted a genome-wide association study using the info of 1076 African Americans to research the genetics of skin pigmentation during this group to check whether the identified genetic variants are linked to vitamin D deficiency in African Americans.


“We shouldn’t shy from this new study watching the genetics of complexion and its effects on vitamin-D deficiency because being ‘colorblind’ is what has led to the widespread health disparities that we as a society are now trying to deal with ,” said Rick Kittles, PhD, director of the Division of Health Equities at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, during a handout . “Skin color has strong social and biological significance—social due to race and racism and biological because over 70% of African Americans are vitamin-D deficient, leading to increased risk for cancer and disorder .”

This was the primary genome-wide association study of skin pigmentation in African Americans, consistent with the study authors. Study participants self-identified as African American, and blood samples for DNA analysis and vitamin D levels were collected at recruitment. Scientists then measured the sun-protected area of the skin within the inner upper arms of participants employing a digital reflectometer.

Various factors, like aging, outdoor activities, and consistent UV exposure over the years, may influence skin pigmentation and therefore the association between skin pigmentation and vitamin-D levels, consistent with the study. The researchers found that skin pigmentation gene variants, instead of skin pigmentation, measured employing a reflectometer were related to serum vitamin-D levels.

Further, the scientists found 3 regions (SLC24A5, SLC45A2 and OCA2) within the genes of African Americans with strong links to complexion and severe vitamin-D deficiency. The genetic variant rs2675345, which is near a neighborhood within the gene called SLC24A5, showed the strongest association with skin pigmentation and vitamin-D deficiency.

Previous studies have shown that individuals with darker skin pigmentation require longer or more intense ultraviolet exposure to synthesize sufficient levels of vitamin-D . the present study’s authors said they hope the findings lead into future investigations that examine the newly identified risk score in physicians’ offices, potentially creating a precision medicine tool.

“This study is an example of the interplay of race and complexion on health and the way if we ignore things like the colour of an individual’s skin, we could also be ignoring potential medical issues, thus contributing to health care disparities,” Kittles said during a handout . “Our study provides new knowledge about an easily modifiable factor like vitamin D supplementation and inherited genetic factors affecting vitamin D deficiency in African Americans. With more research, within the future physicians could offer patients of color with a cheap thanks to reduce their risk of vitamin deficiency, which ultimately could help protect against certain cancers.”

This article originally appeared on , journals.plos.org


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