Using a zebrafish model, researchers from North Carolina State University have found that vitamin D deficiency during early development can disrupt the metabolic balance between growth and fat accumulation. The results suggest a linkage between vitamin D and metabolic homeostasis, or equilibrium.
The research team, led by Seth Kullman, professor of biological sciences at NC State, looked at groups of post-juvenile zebrafish on one of three diets: no vitamin D (or vitamin D null), vitamin D enriched and control. The zebrafish spent four months on their particular diet, then the researchers looked at their growth, bone density, triglyceride, lipid, cholesterol and vitamin D levels. They also examined key metabolic pathways associated with fat production, storage and mobilization and growth promotion.
The zebrafish in the vitamin D deficient group were, on average, 50% smaller than those in the other two groups, and they had significantly more fat reserves.