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A new approach to measuring vitamin D in human adipose tissue using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry: A pilot study

Journal article
Authors Per Malmberg
Therese Karlsson
Henrik Svensson
Malin Lönn
Nils-Gunnar Carlsson
Ann-Sofie Sandberg
Eva Jennische
Amra Osmancevic
Agneta Holmäng
Published in Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology. B: Biology
Volume 138
Pages 295-301
ISSN 1011-1344
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Clinical Chemistry and Transfusion Medicine
Pages 295-301
Language en
Keywords Adipose tissue, Vitamin D, TOF-SIMS
Subject categories Dermatology and Venereal Diseases


Circulating concentrations of vitamin D, 25(OH)D, and 1,25(OH)2D are lower in obese than lean individuals, but little is known about the adipose tissue content of these molecules. The aim of this study was to explore the possibility to use time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) to measure vitamin D and its metabolites in fat tissue in obese and lean subjects. Abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) biopsies were obtained from three lean and three obese women, and paired biopsies SAT and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) were obtained from three obese subjects during gastric bypass surgery. TOF-SIMS was used to measure vitamin D3, 25(OH)D3, and 1,25(OH)2D3 in adipose tissue. We found that vitamin D3, 25(OH)D3, and 1,25(OH)2D3 in adipose tissue can be measured with TOF-SIMS. In adipose tissue, vitamin D3 and its metabolites were located in adipocyte lipid droplets. The content of vitamin D3 (P = 0.006) and 25(OH)D3 (P = 0.018) were lower in SAT in obese compared with lean women. TOF-SIMS has the potential to semi-quantitatively measure vitamin D metabolites in adipose tissue, and offers a possibility to compare vitamin D levels in different depots and groups of individuals. It also gives the opportunity to explore the localization of vitamin D metabolites at a cellular level.

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