Regular Research Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 9, P908-917, September 2019

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Effects of Vitamin D Use on Outcomes of Psychotic Symptoms in Alzheimer Disease Patients

Published:March 27, 2019DOI:


      • Vitamin D was used more often in patients of Alzheimer's disease without psychosis symptoms than in patients of Alzheimer's disease with psychosis symptoms.
      • Vitamin D use was significantly associated with delayed time to psychosis in Alzheimer's disease patients.
      • The molecular mechanism of the beneficial effect might be attributed to the facts that Vitamin D can regulate Alzheimer's disease and/or psychosis-related genes.


      To identify medications that may prevent psychosis in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD).


      The authors compared the frequency of medication usage among patients with AD with or without psychosis symptoms (AD + P versus AD – P). The authors also conducted survival analysis on time to psychosis for patients with AD to identify drugs with beneficial effects. The authors further explored the potential molecular mechanisms of identified drugs by gene-signature analysis. Specifically, the gene expression profiles induced by the identified drug(s) were collected to derive a list of most perturbed genes. These genes were further analyzed by the associations of their genetic variations with AD or psychosis-related phenotypes.


      Vitamin D was used more often in AD – P patients than in AD + P patients. Vitamin D was also significantly associated with delayed time to psychosis. AD and/or psychosis-related genes were enriched in the list of genes most perturbed by vitamin D, specifically genes involved in the regulation of calcium signaling downstream of the vitamin D receptor.


      Vitamin D was associated with delayed onset of psychotic symptoms in patients with AD. Its mechanisms of action provide a novel direction for development of drugs to prevent or treat psychosis in AD. In addition, genetic variations in vitamin D-regulated genes may provide a biomarker signature to identify a subpopulation of patients who can benefit from vitamin D treatment.

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