Vitamin D anti-inflammatory pathway identified

Writing in the March 1, 2012, issue of The Journal of Immunology, researchers at National Jewish Health in Denver report their discovery of a molecular pathway through which vitamin D inhibits inflammation.

Assistant professor of pediatrics Elena Goleva and her associates cultured human white blood cells with varying amounts of vitamin D or no vitamin D before exposing them to lipopolysaccharide, a pro-inflammatory compound. They found that cells incubated without vitamin D or with a reduced concentration of 15 nanograms per milliliter produced high amounts of the cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), both of which are involved in the inflammatory response. However, white blood cells that received concentrations of 30 nanograms per milliliter or more of vitamin D, which is a level considered by some researchers to be sufficient when measured in the bloodstream, had a decreased inflammatory response, with 50 nanograms per milliliter vitamin D resulting in the greatest reduction. Among other findings, the team observed that vitamin D treatment upregulated the expression of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase-1, which interferes with inflammation. “This study goes beyond previous associations of vitamin D with various health outcomes,” stated Dr Goleva. “It outlines a clear chain of cellular events, from the binding of DNA, through a specific signaling pathway, to the reduction of proteins known to trigger inflammation. Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases, such as asthma, arthritis and prostate cancer, who are vitamin D deficient, may benefit from vitamin D supplementation to get their serum vitamin D levels above 30 nanograms/milliliter.”

“The fact that we showed a dose-dependent and varying response to levels commonly found in humans also adds weight to the argument for vitamin D’s role in immune and inflammatory conditions,” she added.

via February 2012 What’s Hot – Life Extension.

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