Null association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels with allergic rhinitis, allergic sensitization and non-allergic rhinitis: A Mendelian randomization study

Qi Feng, Klaus Bønnelykke, Weronica E. Ek, Bo L. Chawes, Shuai Yuan, Ching Lung Cheung, Gloria H.Y. Li, Raymond Y.H. Leung, Bernard M.Y. Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Previous observational studies have not found a conclusive association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels and allergic rhinitis (AR) or allergic sensitization (AS). Objective: To investigate a causal association between 25(OH)D levels with risk of AR and AS, using a two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) approach. Methods: Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), previously shown to be associated with serum 25(OH)D levels, were identified as instrumental variables. The primary outcome was AR, and the secondary outcomes were AS and non-allergic rhinitis (NAR). The genome-wide association (GWA) summary statistics of the outcomes were obtained from two cohort studies (EAGLE Consortium and UK Biobank). An MR analysis with random-effects inverse-variance weighted method was performed as the primary analysis to estimate overall effect size (odds ratio [OR] and 95% confidence interval [CI]). Sensitivity analysis using weighted median method and MR-Egger regression method was conducted. A subgroup analysis based on 25(OH)D synthesis-related SNPs was further applied. Results: Serum 25(OH)D levels were not causally associated with risk of AR (OR: 0.960; 95% CI: 0.779-1.184), AS (OR: 1.059; 95% CI: 0.686 to 1.634) or NAR (OR: 0.937; 95% CI: 0.588-1.491). Subgroup analysis also showed null association between 25(OH)D synthesis-related SNPs and the outcomes. Sensitivity analyses yielded similar results. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: This MR study found no evidence supporting a causal association between serum 25(OH)D levels and risk of AR, AS and NAR in European-ancestry population. This argues against the previous postulation that vitamin D supplementation is effective in prevention of allergic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number1
Early online date28 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • allergic rhinitis
  • allergic sensitization
  • causation
  • Mendelian randomization
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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