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Title: In vitro and in vivo analysis of the immune system of vitamin D receptor knockout mice
Authors: Mathieu, Chantal
van Etten, Evelyne
Gysemans, Conny
Decallonne, Brigitte
Kato, Shigeaki
Laureys, Jozef
Depovere, Jos
Valckx, Dirk
Verstuyf, Annemieke
Bouillon, Roger # ×
Issue Date: Nov-2001
Publisher: Blackwell Science, Inc.
Series Title: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research vol:16 issue:11 pages:2057-2065
Abstract: Immune cells carry receptors for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3; vitamin D receptor (VDR)] and individuals with severe vitamin D deficiency have immune abnormalities. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of vitamin D in the immune system by studying VDR-knockout (VDR-KO) mice. VDR-KO mice had the same metabolic phenotype as rachitic animals with severe hypocalcemia. Leukocytosis, lymphocyte subset composition in different immune organs, and splenocyte proliferation to several stimuli were normal, except for a lower response to anti-CD3 stimulation (simulation index [SI] of 13 +/- 4 vs. 24 +/- 9 in wild-type mice; p < 0.01). Macrophage chemotaxis was impaired (41 +/- 19% vs. 60 +/- 18% in wild-type mice; p < 0.01) but phagocytosis and killing were normal. In vivo rejection of allogeneic (31 +/- 12 days vs. 45 +/- 26 days of survival in wild-type mice, NS) or xenogeneic (10 +/- 2 days vs. 16 +/- 9 days of survival in wild-type mice, NS) islet grafts was comparable with wild-type mice. Surprisingly, VDR-KO mice were protected from low-dose streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus (LDSDM; 5% vs. 65% in wild-type mice; p < 0.001). Correcting hypocalcemia by use of lactose-rich or polyunsaturated fat-rich diets fully restored the immune abnormalities in vitro and the sensitivity to diabetes in vivo. On the other hand, treatment with 1,25(OH)2D3 protected wild-type mice against diabetes but did not protect normocalcemic VDR-KO mice. We conclude that immune defects observed in VDR-KO mice are an indirect consequence of VDR disruption because they can be restored by calcium homeostasis normalization. This study proves that although 1,25(OH)2D3 is a pharmacologic and probably a physiological immunomodulator, its immune function is redundant. Moreover, we confirm the essential role of calcium in the immune system.
ISSN: 0884-0431
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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