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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 9, 2022

Vitamin D metabolism in living kidney donors before and after organ donation

Dietmar Enko, Andreas Meinitzer, Sieglinde Zelzer, Markus Herrmann, Katharina Artinger, Alexander R. Rosenkranz and Sabine Zitta



Living kidney donors provide a unique setting to study functional and metabolic consequences after organ donation. Since the lack of data of the homoeostasis of numerous vitamin D metabolites in these healthy subjects, the aim of this study was to assess the vitamin D metabolism before and after kidney donation.


We investigated the 25-dihydroxyvitamin D2 (25[OH]D2), 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (25[OH]D3), 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25[OH]2D3), 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (24,25[OH]2D3), 25,26-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (25,26[OH]2D3), and the native vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in a well characterized study cohort of 32 healthy living kidney donors before and after organ donation.


Thirty-two healthy subjects after kidney donation had significantly lower median (interquartile range) 1,25(OH)2D3 serum concentrations (88.6 [62.6–118.8] vs. 138.0 [102.6–152.4] pmol/L, p<0.001) and significantly higher median 25(OH)D2 serum levels (1.80 [1.19–2.19] vs. 1.11 [0.74–1.59] nmol/L, p=0.019) than before donation. Similar serum concentrations of 25(OH)D3 and 25,26(OH)2D3 were observed before and after donation. The 24,25(OH)2D3 blood levels distinctly decreased after organ donation (4.1 [2.3–5.3] vs. 5.3 [2.2–6.9] nmol/L, p=0.153). Native vitamin D2 (0.10 [0.08–0.14] vs. 0.08 [0.06–0.12] nmol/L, p=0.275) was slightly increased and vitamin D3 (1.6 [0.6–7.2] vs. 2.5 [0.9–8.6] nmol/L, p=0.957) decreased after kidney donation.


Living kidney donors were found with decreased 1,25(OH)2D3 and 24,25(OH)2D3, increased 25(OH)D2 and consistent 25(OH)D3 and 25,26(OH)2D3 serum concentrations after organ donation. The current study advances the understanding on vitamin D metabolism suggesting that altered hydroxylase-activities after donation is accompanied by compensatory elevated dietary-related 25(OH)D2 blood concentrations.

Corresponding author: Andreas Meinitzer, Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 15, 8036 Graz, Austria, Phone: +43 316 385 145, Fax: +43 316 385 13430, E-mail:

  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Author contributions: All listed authors contributed to the study design. D.E. wrote the manuscript and S. Zitta supervised the study. S. Zitta, K.A., A.R.R., S. Zelzer and A.M. collected the data. D.E., A.M., and S. Zelzer analysed and interpreted the data. All authors provided critical feedback and finally approved the version to be published.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individuals included in this study.

  5. Ethical approval: The ethical approval was provided by the Ethical Committee of the Medial University of Graz (Graz, Austria) (approval number: 31-289 ex 18/19). The study was carried out in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.


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Received: 2022-02-17
Accepted: 2022-04-29
Published Online: 2022-05-09
Published in Print: 2022-07-26

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