More MS news articles for Dec 2001

Vitamin D: its role and uses in immunology

FASEB J 2001 Dec;15(14):2579-85
Deluca HF, Cantorna MT.
Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.

In recent years there has been an effort to understand possible noncalcemic roles of vitamin D, including its role in the immune system and, in particular, on T cell-medicated immunity.

Vitamin D receptor is found in significant concentrations in the T lymphocyte and macrophage populations.

However, its highest concentration is in the immature immune cells of the thymus and the mature CD-8 T lymphocytes.

The significant role of vitamin D compounds as selective immunosuppressants is illustrated by their ability to either prevent or markedly suppress animal models of autoimmune disease.

Results show that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 can either prevent or markedly suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, type I diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.

In almost every case, the action of the vitamin D hormone requires that the animals be maintained on a normal or high calcium diet.

Possible mechanisms of suppression of these autoimmune disorders by the vitamin D hormone have been presented.

The vitamin D hormone stimulates transforming growth factor TGFbeta-1 and interleukin 4 (IL-4) production, which in turn may suppress inflammatory T cell activity.

In support of this, the vitamin D hormone is unable to suppress a murine model of the human disease multiple sclerosis in IL-4-deficient mice.

The results suggest an important role for vitamin D in autoimmune disorders and provide a fertile and interesting area of research that may yield important new therapies.

PMID: 11726533 [PubMed - in process]