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Open AccessArticle

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Vitamin D on Human Immune Cells in the Context of Bacterial Infection

Pneumococcal Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne VIC 3052, Australia
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2016, 8(12), 806;
Received: 10 October 2016 / Revised: 24 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 December 2016 / Published: 12 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin D: Current Issues and New Perspectives)
Vitamin D induces a diverse range of biological effects, including important functions in bone health, calcium homeostasis and, more recently, on immune function. The role of vitamin D during infection is of particular interest given data from epidemiological studies suggesting that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of infection. Vitamin D has diverse immunomodulatory functions, although its role during bacterial infection remains unclear. In this study, we examined the effects of 1,25(OH)2D3, the active metabolite of vitamin D, on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and purified immune cell subsets isolated from healthy adults following stimulation with the bacterial ligands heat-killed pneumococcal serotype 19F (HK19F) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We found that 1,25(OH)2D3 significantly reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-1β as well as the chemokine IL-8 for both ligands (three- to 53-fold), while anti-inflammatory IL-10 was increased (two-fold, p = 0.016) in HK19F-stimulated monocytes. Levels of HK19F-specific IFN-γ were significantly higher (11.7-fold, p = 0.038) in vitamin D-insufficient adults (<50 nmol/L) compared to sufficient adults (>50 nmol/L). Vitamin D also shifted the pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance towards an anti-inflammatory phenotype and increased the CD14 expression on monocytes (p = 0.008) in response to LPS but not HK19F stimulation. These results suggest that 1,25(OH)2D3 may be an important regulator of the inflammatory response and supports further in vivo and clinical studies to confirm the potential benefits of vitamin D in this context. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin D; inflammation; bacterial infection; pneumococcal vitamin D; inflammation; bacterial infection; pneumococcal
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Hoe, E.; Nathanielsz, J.; Toh, Z.Q.; Spry, L.; Marimla, R.; Balloch, A.; Mulholland, K.; Licciardi, P.V. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Vitamin D on Human Immune Cells in the Context of Bacterial Infection. Nutrients 2016, 8, 806.

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