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07.08.2018 | Original Contribution Open Access

LC–MS/MS based 25(OH)D status in a large Southern European outpatient cohort: gender- and age-specific differences

European Journal of Nutrition
Silvia Giuliani, Verena Barbieri, Angela Maria Di Pierro, Fabio Rossi, Thomas Widmann, Manuela Lucchiari, Irene Pusceddu, Stefan Pilz, Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, Markus Herrmann
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00394-018-1803-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Silvia Giuliani and Verena Barbieri contributed equally and should be considered first authors.



Developed countries have a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. In previous studies, 25(OH)D was predominantly measured by immunoassays. The present study assessed serum 25(OH)D in a very large Southern European outpatient cohort by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS).

Materials and methods

74,235 serum 25(OH)D results generated under routine conditions between 2015 and 2016 were extracted from the laboratory information system of the Department of Clinical Pathology at Bolzano Hospital (Italy). In 3801 cases, parathyroid hormone (PTH) was requested in parallel. Serum 25(OH)D was measured by a NIST-972 aligned commercial LC–MS/MS method. The distribution of serum 25(OH)D concentrations in males and females of different age groups, the prevalence of 25(OH)D2 and seasonal variability were studied.


The average 25(OH)D concentration in the entire cohort was 68.6 nmol/L (7.5–1880 nmol/L). Females had a 7 nmol/L higher average 25(OH)D concentration than males, which increased significantly with age. 37.9 and 28.3% of males and females, respectively, had a deficient 25(OH)D concentration of < 50 nmol/L. 620 samples (0.84%) had measureable amounts of 25(OH)D2. In samples with a normal PTH, 25(OH)D was 11 nmol/L higher than in the entire cohort. Seasonal variation ranged between 20 and 30% and was most pronounced in young individuals. 25(OH)D2 remained constant throughout the year.


Average serum 25(OH)D in South Tyrol is higher than in other parts of Europe. 25(OH)D and PTH show a continuous inverse relationship. Seasonal variation of serum 25(OH)D is an important aspect in young and middle-aged adults, but becomes less relevant in elderly subjects. 25(OH)D2 is of minor practical importance in South Tyrol.

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