Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Vitamin D plays crucial roles in neuroprotection and neurodevelopment, and low levels are commonly associated with schizophrenia. We considered if the association was spurious or causal by examining the association of Vitamin D with Leukocyte Telomere Length (LTL), a marker of cellular aging. Vitamin D levels in 22 well-characterized schizophrenia cases were examined with respect to symptoms, cognition, and functioning. LTL was assessed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The results showed that 91% (20) had deficient or insufficient Vitamin D levels, which were associated with excitement and grandiosity, social anhedonia, and poverty of speech. Sex-specific analyses showed strong associations of hypovitamintosis D to negative symptoms and decreased premorbid adjustment in males, and to lesser hallucinations and emotional withdrawal, but increased anti-social aggression in females. In females LTL was furthermore associated with Vitamin D levels. This study demonstrates a relationship of low vitamin D levels with increased cellular aging in females. It is also the first study to demonstrate potential sex-specific profiles among schizophrenia cases with hypovitaminosis.