Last week, Dr Emma Hurst, lead postdoctoral scientist in the VitDAL visited Glasgow to present at the 5th Scottish Biomedical Postdoctoral Researcher Conference (SBPRC). SBPRC is a unique networking platform for postdocs belonging to diverse areas of biomedical sciences from institutions across Scotland, and aims to provide focused presentations to meet the needs of postdoctoral researchers and awareness of the scope of research taking place to promote new collaborations. Dr Hurst play a lead role within VitDAL which includes LC-MS assay development and sample analysis, presented a talk entitled “The VitDAL journey: from one armadillo to hundreds of cows and (almost!) everything in between”. Dr Hurst discussed the development and use of the recently DEQAS accredited 25-hydroxyvitamin-D assay, highlighting the vastly diverse applications, including investigating hypervitaminosis D in an armadillo to hypovitaminosis D in lambs from Scottish Hill Farms.
Professor Mellanby visited Phoenix this week to present some of the latest research from the VitDAL at the ACVIM Forum. He presented some recent data from VitDAL alongside Dr Jaffey from Midwestern University in a talk entitled ‘Vitamin D : a new role in infectious disease’. They reviewed data demonstrating that vitamin D homeostasis is altered in companion animals with infectious diseases and then discussed data from VitDAL which showed how vitamin D metabolites can influence the immune response. They also discussed how inflammation can also influence vitamin D status, revealing the bi-directional relationship between vitamin D status and immune response.
We are delighted to announce that the VitDAL has been awarded DEQAS accreditation this week. This demonstrates that the lab offers a 25(OH)D assay which has a high degree of accuracy and performs within the Vitamin D External Quality Assessment Scheme (DEQAS) performance targets. The DEQAS send VitDAL samples every 3 months in which we measure 25(OH)D concentrations blindly before submitting the results to the scheme. At the end of each annual cycle only labs which have performed within tightly controlled targets are awarded accreditation. The photo shows the team proudly exhibiting their certificate of proficiency from the DEQAS Advisory Panel (L-R Dr Natalie Homer, Mass Spectrometry Core Manager; Dr Emma Hurst, VitDAL postdoctoral scientist; Dr Scott Denham, Deputy Director of Mass Spectrometry facility and Professor Richard Mellanby).
VitDAL published a case report this week which describes how the lab helped diagnose a case of profound hypovitaminosis D in Cocker Spaniel who presented to the Hospital for Small Animals with a history of a seizure. After further tests, we diagnosed a severe intestinal disorder called a protein losing enteropathy (PLE) following endoscopic examination and biopsy of his intestines. As shown in the image, the architecture of the small intestine was highly abnormal and the biospies revealed a marked inflammatory infiltrate which had significantly disrupted the structure of the intestines. The PLE led to a failure to absorb enough vitamin D to maintain plasma calcium concentration within the normal range which eventually dropped to a sufficiently low level to cause a seizure. Following the rapid identification of the vitamin D deplete state by VitDAL, we were able to successfully treat the … Read More »
VitDAL have published their latest paper today on vitamin D status in dogs with babaesia in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Babesiosis is a very important disease in dogs in South Africa and many other countries and is an important cause of anaemia. We have shown that vitamin D status is lower in dogs with babesia than healthy dogs and that there was a negative relationship between disease severity and 25(OH)D concentrations. We hope these results will stimulate further work into vitamin D biology and babesiosis which also acts as a valuable large animal model of human malaria infections.
The paper can be accessed at this link
VitDAL has published its latest research on the immune-modulating properties of vitamin D. We have explored the effects of the active vitamin D metabolite 1,25(OH)2D3 on bone marrow derived dendritic cells (BMDC) and discovered that CD31 was one of a small number of genes which were over-expressed on both activated and non-activated 1,25(OH)2D3 conditioned BMDC. Using lentivirus transfection systems we over- and under-expressed CD31 on BMDC revealing that CD31 acted as a brake on T cell activation. We showed that the expression of CD31 prevented cells from establishing long lasting interactions with BMDC thereby limiting potential for T cell activation.
The full paper can be accessed via this link
The VitDAL published their latest study on vitamin D and health outcomes this week. The work was a collaborative study between R(D)SVS, Roslin Institute and SRUC and explored the relationship between serum 25(OH)D concentrations in late autumn and subsequent breeding outcomes the following year in three flocks of sheep. The sheep were not receiving any supplementary food at the time of sampling which makes this flock a very informative cohort in which to explore the relationship between vitamin D and health outcomes. An important finding in this study was that the white faced Lleyn sheep had higher 25(OH)D3 concentrations than the darker coated Scottish Blackface sheep yet concentrations of 25(OH)D2, which is not produced in the skin, were not different between the 2 breeds. Consistent with our earlier work in Soay sheep, this study shows the impact coat colour has on 25(OH)D3 status in animals. In addition, we found that … Read More »
Professor Mellanby was an invited speaker at the Mellanby Centre, University of Sheffield last week. The Mellanby centre was named in honour of Sir Edward Mellanby who was a leading researcher in vitamin D and bone biology based in Sheffield. The annual symposium provided an excellent forum for dissemination of recent research findings and celebrate recent accomplishment by the Centre. Professor Mellanby gave an overview of Sir Edward’s life and achievements and described how his research transformed public health 100 years ago. The picture shows Prof Mellanby alongside Prof Russell, Prof Eastwell and Prof Coleman following the lifetime membership of the Mellanby Centre ceremony.
Professor Richard Mellanby from VitDAL had the great honour of presenting his inaugural lecture recently at the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. This was a wonderful opportunity to present the story of the lab’s work to date ranging from the first clinical cases of hypervitaminosis D that stimulated research in this area through to more recent studies on vitamin D status and health outcomes in large population studies and evaluations of immuno-modulatory properties of vitamin D metabolites. A recording of the talk can be accessed via this link
Professor Richard Mellanby from the VitDAL gave a presentation on the health benefits of vitamin D at the Biggar Science Festival this week. The Biggar Science Festival is a fantastic 10 day celebration of science past, present and future and offers a great range of science engagement activities for all ages – further details can be found at their website. Richard discussed the history of vitamin D and reviewed some recent studies which have shown how vitamin D can influence the immune system. The relaxed venue was a perfect place to then engage in a wide ranging discussion about our current understanding of the importance of vitamin D in health and disease.