Vitamin D is an important regulator of the immune system in general and multiple sclerosis in particular. Experimentally (i), invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells have been shown to be important suppressors of autoimmune diseases such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE; an animal model of multiple sclerosis). Conversely, in experimental allergic asthma iNKT cells are required for disease induction and are therefore pathogenic. The active form of vitamin D (calcitriol) suppresses EAE. The development of EAE symptoms is accelerated in vitamin D deficiency. Interestingly experimental asthma is less severe in vitamin D deficiency although there is no effect of calcitriol on disease severity. The data suggest that an important target of vitamin D in EAE and asthma are the iNKT cells. Vitamin D and/or vitamin D receptor deficiency results in the impaired development of iNKT cells. Vitamin D is critical very early during development of the immune system. Low levels of vitamin D in utero resulted in significantly reduced numbers of iNKT cells that failed to recover when calcitriol was used to supplement neonatal or adult mice. The data suggest that one of the consequences of early vitamin D deficiency is a reduction in the numbers of iNKT cells that develop. The iNKT cells are required for the beneficial effects of calcitriol in EAE. The important role of vitamin D on iNKT cells could impact the development of human immune-mediated diseases including multiple sclerosis and asthma.
Vitamin D; Immune function; Multiple sclerosis; Asthma; NKT cell
Vitamin D exerts profound effects on both adaptive and innate immune functions involved in the development and course of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. As the incidence of vitamin D insufficiency is surprisingly high in the general population, experimental studies have started to investigate whether vitamin D levels (measured as serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D-25[OH]D) are correlated with immune cells and clinical parameters.
The aim of the present research was to investigate serum vitamin D status in a case-control study in children with asthma and to study associations between vitamin D levels and certain immunological parameters.
Materials and methods
A case control study of thirty-nine children with clinically controlled asthma was enrolled to assess the relationship between serum vitamin D concentrations and disease activity. Vitamin D was assayed with a radioimmunoassay kit. We evaluated the relationship between vitamin D concentrations and forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), and the FEV1/FVC ratio. Correlations between inflammatory mediators, Th1, Th2, Th17, and regulatory T cells (Treg) and vitamin D were investigated.
Only 15.38% of our asthmatic children had a sufficient serum 25(OH)D (≥30 ng/mL) whereas 80% of healthy children expressed sufficient levels. Deficient values of vitamin D (<20 ng/mL) were observed in 17 (43.59%) asthmatic patients (14.40 ± 3.30 ng/mL; P = 0.0001). Deficiency was not observed in controls. Th1/Th2 ratio was significantly correlated to 25(OH) D level (r = 0.698; P = 0.0001). A significant negative correlation was observed between serum interleukin-17 and vitamin D levels in young asthmatics (r = −0.617; P = 0.001). A significant correlation was observed between CD25+Foxp3+ Treg cells and vitamin D values in asthmatics (r = 0.368; P = 0.021).
Even in a southern Mediterranean country, hypovitaminosis D is frequent in children with asthma. Our findings suggest that vitamin D is an important promoter of T cell regulation in vivo in young asthmatics.
vitamin D; Th17; Treg cells; asthma; children
Humans have the ability to synthesize vitamin D during the action of ultraviolet (UV) radiation upon the skin. Apart from the regulation of calcium and phosphate metabolism, another critical role for vitamin D in immunity and respiratory health has been revealed, since vitamin D receptors have also been found in other body cells. The term “vitamin D insufficiency” has been used to describe low levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D that may be associated with a wide range of pulmonary diseases, including viral and bacterial respiratory infection, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer. This review focuses on the controversial relationship between vitamin D and asthma. Also, it has been found that different gene polymorphisms of the vitamin D receptor have variable associations with asthma. Other studies investigated the vitamin D receptor signaling pathway in vitro or in experimental animal models and showed either a beneficial or a negative effect of vitamin D in asthma. Furthermore, a range of epidemiological studies has also suggested that vitamin D insufficiency is associated with low lung function. In the future, clinical trials in different asthmatic groups, such as infants, children of school age, and ethnic minorities are needed to establish the role of vitamin D supplementation to prevent and/or treat asthma.
vitamin D; asthma; immunomodulation; anti-inflammation
Asthma is a genetically heterogeneous disease. Polymorphisms of genes encoding components of the vitamin D pathway have been reported to associate with the risk of asthma. We have previously demonstrated that vitamin D status was associated with lung function in Chinese asthma patients. In this study, we tested whether polymorphisms of genes encoding for vitamin D receptor (VDR), vitamin D 25-hydroxylase (CYP2R1) and vitamin D binding protein (GC) were associated with asthma in the Chinese Han population.
We sequenced all 8 exons of VDR and all 5 exons of CYP2R1 in a Chinese case-control cohort of asthma consisting of 467 cases and 288 unrelated healthy controls. Two mutations were identified in these regions. These variants were specified as rs2228570 in exon 2 of VDR and rs12794714 in exon 1 of CYP2R1. We also genotyped two common polymorphisms in GC gene (rs4588 and rs7041) by a PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) method. We analyzed the association between these 4 polymorphisms and asthma susceptibility and asthma-related traits.
Polymorphic markers in VDR and CYP2R1 were not associated with asthma in the Chinese Han cohort. Importantly, variants in GC gene, which give rise to the two most common electrophoretic isoforms of the vitamin D binding protein, were associated with asthma susceptibility. Compared with isoform Gc1, Gc2 was significantly associated with the risk of asthma (OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.01-1.78 p = 0.006).
The results provide supporting evidence for association between GC variants and asthma susceptibility in the Chinese Han population.
We evaluated the epidemiologic evidence that vitamin D may be related to human autoimmune disease risk.
PubMed limited to English from inception through April 2010 was searched using keywords: “vitamin D”, “autoimmune” and autoimmune disease names. We summarized in vitro, animal, and genetic association studies of vitamin D in autoimmune disease pathogenesis. We sorted studies by design and disease and performed a systematic review of: a) cross-sectional data concerning vitamin D level and autoimmune disease; b) interventional data on vitamin D supplementation in autoimmune diseases and c) prospective data linking vitamin D level or intake to autoimmune disease risk.
Vitamin D has effects on innate and acquired immune systems and vitamin D receptor polymorphisms have been associated with various autoimmune diseases. In experimental animal models, vitamin D supplementation can prevent or forestall autoimmune disease. We identified 76 studies in which vitamin D levels were studied in autoimmune disease patients, particularly with active disease, and compared to controls. Nineteen observational or interventional studies assessed the effect of vitamin D supplementation as therapy for various autoimmune diseases (excluding psoriasis and vitiligo) with a range of study approaches and results. The few prospective human studies performed conflict as to whether vitamin D level or intake is associated with autoimmune disease risk. No interventional trials have investigated whether vitamin D affects human autoimmune disease risk.
Cross-sectional data point to a potential role of vitamin D in autoimmune disease prevention, but prospective interventional evidence in humans is still lacking.
vitamin D; autoimmune disease; intake; risk factor; epidemiology; systematic review
Reduced immunity following exposure of skin to UV radiation (UVR) may explain the positive latitude gradient measured for a number of autoimmune diseases (greater incidence of disease with residence at higher latitudes), including multiple sclerosis, allergic asthma and diabetes. Humans obtain >80% of their vitamin D3 by exposure of skin to UVR in sunlight. In experimental models, both vitamin D3-dependent and vitamin D3-independent pathways have been implicated in the mechanisms of UVR-induced systemic suppression of immunity. However, where does the balance of control lie? How important is vitamin D3 other than providing a biomarker of sun exposure? Are other molecules/pathways activated by UVR more important? Murine and human studies suggest many molecules may play a role and their participation may vary with different diseases and the time of UVR exposure or vitamin D3 sufficiency/deficiency. Although low vitamin D3 levels have been associated with increased prevalence and progression of human autoimmune diseases, the benefits of supplementation with vitamin D3 have not been definitive. Vitamin D3 levels are a measure of past sun exposure but vitamin D3-dependent and vitamin D3-independent immunosuppressive effects of UVR may play a role in control of autoimmune diseases.
Atopic asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that has taken on epidemic proportions in the industrialized world. The increase in asthma rates has been linked epidemiologically to the rapid disappearance of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial pathogen that persistently colonizes the human stomach, from Western societies. In this study, we have utilized mouse models of allergic airway disease induced by ovalbumin or house dust mite allergen to experimentally examine a possible inverse correlation between H. pylori and asthma. H. pylori infection efficiently protected mice from airway hyperresponsiveness, tissue inflammation, and goblet cell metaplasia, which are hallmarks of asthma, and prevented allergen-induced pulmonary and bronchoalveolar infiltration with eosinophils, Th2 cells, and Th17 cells. Protection against asthma was most robust in mice infected neonatally and was abrogated by antibiotic eradication of H. pylori. Asthma protection was further associated with impaired maturation of lung-infiltrating dendritic cells and the accumulation of highly suppressive Tregs in the lungs. Systemic Treg depletion abolished asthma protection; conversely, the adoptive transfer of purified Treg populations was sufficient to transfer protection from infected donor mice to uninfected recipients. Our results thus provide experimental evidence for a beneficial effect of H. pylori colonization on the development of allergen-induced asthma.
Purpose of Review
Vitamin D deficiency has been rediscovered as a public health problem worldwide. It has been postulated that vitamin D deficiency may explain a portion of the asthma epidemic. The purpose of this review is to present the evidence for a role of vitamin D in asthma.
Both animal models and studies in human fetal tissues show that vitamin D plays a role in fetal lung growth and maturation. Epidemiologic studies have also suggested that higher prenatal vitamin D intakes have a protective role against wheezing illnesses in young children. Vitamin D may protect against wheezing illnesses through its role in upregulating antimicrobial proteins or through its multiple immune effects. In addition, vitamin D may play a therapeutic role in steroid resistant asthmatics, and lower vitamin D levels have recently been associated with higher risks for asthma exacerbations.
Improving vitamin D status holds promise in primary prevention of asthma, in decreasing exacerbations of disease, and in treating steroid resistance. However, the appropriate level of circulating vitamin D for optimal immune functioning remains unclear. Because vitamin D deficiency is prevalent even in sun-replete areas, clinical trials are needed to definitively answer questions about the role of vitamin D in asthma.
asthma; vitamin D; allergies; sun exposure; wheeze
Vitamin A has different functions in the body and after being converted to acid form; it can play many roles in immune system regulation. Therefore, this vitamin can be used as a supplement in the treatment of diseases, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble compound and its long-term consumption in high doses can have some adverse effects.
The current study aimed to investigate the possible complications and find solutions to minimize the adverse effects.
Patients and Methods
This study was a double blind randomized clinical trial. In the main study, vitamin A (as retinyl palmitate) was given to 35 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in order to regulate their immune system with a dose of 25000 IU/day for a period of six months. To investigate the possible biochemical complications, lipid profiles, fasting blood sugar (FBS), liver enzymes, and C-reactive protein (CRP) were tested.
Vitamin A did not have a significant difference in lipid profiles, FBS and liver enzymes between the two groups receiving vitamin A and the placebo, but CRP increased in patients who were taking vitamin A, 1.65±0.43 (mg/L) and 2.88±0.67, (Mean±SEM), before and after the intervention respectively (P=0.029), and statistical analysis showed significant differences with the group receiving placebo (P=0.011) and CRP level in vitamin A group was 1.3 mg/L more than those of the placebo group after intervention (P=0.011).
Considering that no significant difference was found in the proven vitamin A side effects, due to the increase in CRP, frequent clinical and biochemical controls are required along with vitamin A supplementation.
Vitamin A; Multiple Sclerosis; C-reactive Protein
Vitamin D receptor (VDR) agonists are currently the agents of choice for the treatment of psoriasis, a skin inflammatory indication that is believed to involve an autoimmune component. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25-(OH)2D3], the biologically active metabolite of vitamin D, has shown efficacy in animal autoimmune disease models of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and type I diabetes. However, the side effect of 1,25-(OH)2D3 and its synthetic secosteroidal analogs is hypercalcemia, which is a major impediment in their clinical development for autoimmune diseases. Hypercalcemia develops as a result of the action of VDR agonists on the intestine. Here, we describe the identification of a VDR modulator (VDRM) compound A that was transcriptionally less active in intestinal cells and as a result exhibited less calcemic activity in vivo than 1,25-(OH)2D3. Cytokine analysis indicated that the VDRM not only modulated the T-helper cell balance from Th1 to Th2 effector function but also inhibited Th17 differentiation. Finally, we demonstrate that the oral administration of compound A inhibited the induction and progress of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice without causing hypercalcemia.
Asthma and other allergic disorders have increased over the past decades in nearly all nations. Many studies have suggested the role of vitamin D deficiency in both T-helper1 and T-helper2 diseases; however, the association between vitamin D, allergy, and asthma remains uncertain. In this study, the associations of 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 levels with asthma and with the severity of asthma were evaluated.
This cross-sectional study was conducted on 50 asthmatic children and 50 healthy controls aged 6-18 years. Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 levels were determined and compared between the two groups. The relationship between serum vitamin D levels and pulmonary function test outcomes and eosinophil counts were examined in asthmatic patients.
Univariate analysis of the relationship between asthma and vitamin D showed that decreased vitamin D levels were associated with significantly increased odds of asthmatic state (P=0.002). In a multivariate analysis after adjustment for age, body mass index, and sex, the relationship between vitamin D and asthma increased. In asthmatic patients, 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels had direct and significant correlations with both predicted FEV1 (R2=0.318; P=0.024) and FEV1/FVC (R2=0.315; P=0.026). There were no associations between vitamin D level and eosinophil counts, duration of disease, and the number of hospitalization or unscheduled visits in the previous year (P>0.05).
These results showed that serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels were inversely associated with asthma, and there was a direct and significant relationship between vitamin D levels and pulmonary function test outcomes in asthmatic children. An interventional study in asthmatic patients with low serum vitamin D concentration may establish a causal relationship between asthma and vitamin D.
Asthma; vitamin D; allergy
It is now clear that vitamin D has important roles in addition to its classic effects on calcium and bone homeostasis. As the vitamin D receptor is expressed on immune cells (B cells, T cells and antigen presenting cells) and these immunologic cells are all are capable of synthesizing the active vitamin D metabolite, vitamin D has the capability of acting in an autocrine manner in a local immunologic milieu. Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. As immune cells in autoimmune diseases are responsive to the ameliorative effects of vitamin D, the beneficial effects of supplementing vitamin D deficient individuals with autoimmune disease may extend beyond the effects on bone and calcium homeostasis.
Bacterial contamination and emerging infections combined with increased international travel pose a great risk to the safety of the blood supply. Tests to detect the presence of infection in a donor have a ‘window period’ during which infections cannot be detected but the donor may be infectious. Agents and their transmission routes need to be recognized before specific tests can be developed. Pathogen reduction of blood components represents a means to address these concerns and is a proactive approach for the prevention of transfusion-transmitted diseases. The expectation of a pathogen reduction system is that it achieves high enough levels of pathogen reduction to reduce or prevent the likelihood of disease transmission while preserving adequate cell and protein quality. In addition the system needs to be non-toxic, non-mutagenic and should be simple to use. The Mirasol® Pathogen Reduction Technology (PRT) System for Platelets and Plasma uses riboflavin (vitamin B2) plus UV light to induce damage in nucleic acid-containing agents. The system has been shown to be effective against clinically relevant pathogens and inactivates leukocytes without significantly compromising the efficacy of the product or resulting in product loss. Riboflavin is a naturally occurring vitamin with a well-known and well-characterized safety profile. The same methodology is currently under development for the treatment of whole blood, making pathogen reduction of all blood products using one system achievable. This review gives an overview of the Mirasol PRT System, summarizing the mechanism of action, toxicology profile, pathogen reduction performance and clinical efficacy of the process.
Pathogen reduction; Riboflavin; Transfusion safety
Rationale: Vitamin D insufficiency (a serum 25(OH)D <30 ng/ml) has been associated with severe asthma exacerbations, but this could be explained by underlying racial ancestry or disease severity. Little is known about vitamin D and asthma in Puerto Ricans.
Objectives: To examine whether vitamin D insufficiency is associated with severe asthma exacerbations in Puerto Rican children, independently of racial ancestry, atopy, and time outdoors.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted of 560 children ages 6–14 years with (n = 287) and without (n = 273) asthma in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We measured plasma vitamin D and estimated the percentage of African racial ancestry among participants using genome-wide genotypic data. We tested whether vitamin D insufficiency is associated with severe asthma exacerbations, lung function, or atopy (greater than or equal to one positive IgE to allergens) using logistic or linear regression. Multivariate models were adjusted for African ancestry, time outdoors, atopy, and other covariates.
Measurements and Main Results: Vitamin D insufficiency was common in children with (44%) and without (47%) asthma. In multivariate analyses, vitamin D insufficiency was associated with higher odds of greater than or equal to one severe asthma exacerbation in the prior year (odds ratio [OR], 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5–4.9; P = 0.001) and atopy, and a lower FEV1/FVC in cases. After stratification by atopy, the magnitude of the association between vitamin D insufficiency and severe exacerbations was greater in nonatopic (OR, 6.2; 95% CI, 2–21.6; P = 0.002) than in atopic (OR, 2; 95% CI, 1–4.1; P = 0.04) cases.
Conclusions: Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with severe asthma exacerbations in Puerto Rican children, independently of racial ancestry, atopy, or markers of disease severity or control.
vitamin D; asthma exacerbations; Puerto Ricans; childhood
Asthma, one of the most prevalent diseases affecting people worldwide, is a chronic respiratory disease characterized by heightened airway inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness and airflow obstruction in response to specific triggers. While the specific mechanisms responsible for asthma are not well understood, changing environmental factors associated with urban lifestyles may underlie the increased prevalence of the disorder. Vitamin D is of particular interest in asthma since vitamin D concentrations decrease with increased time spent indoors, decreased exposure to sunlight, less exercise, obesity, and inadequate calcium intake. Additionally, a growing body of literature suggests that there is a relationship between vitamin D status and respiratory symptoms, presumably through immunomodulatory effects of vitamin D. This review discusses vitamin D as it relates to asthma across the age spectrum, with a focus on human studies.
vitamin D; asthma; asthma prevalence; children; inflammation
Although rickets has all but disappeared as a medical problem, the disease caused serious concern in turn-of-the-century England, where it reached epidemic proportions. The connection between rickets and a lack of vitamin D wasn't made until shortly after World War I, when it was determined that regular exposure to sunlight would eliminate the problem; another solution was to provide vitamin D supplements in milk. The problem hasn't disappeared entirely, however. Seventeen cases of rickets have been diagnosed at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children in the past 5 years.
Asthma is a Th2-dependent disease mediated by IgE and Th2 cytokines, and asthmatic patients suffer from oxidative stresses from abnormal airway inflammation. Vitamin C is a micro-nutrient functioning as an antioxidant. When administered at a mega-dose, vitamin C has been reported to shift immune responses toward Th1. Thus, we tried to determine whether vitamin C exerted beneficial effects in asthma animal model. Asthma was induced in mice by sensitizing and challenging with ovalbumin. At the time of challenge, 3~5 mg of vitamin C was administered and the effects were evaluated. Vitamin C did not modulate Th1/Th2 balance in asthma model. However, it decreased airway hyperreactivity to methacholine, decreased inflammatory cell numbers in brochoalveolar lavage fluid, and moderate reduction of perivascular and peribronchiolar inflammatory cell infiltration. These results suggest that vitamin C administered at the time of antigen challenge exerted anti-inflammatory effects. Further studies based on chronic asthma model are needed to evaluate a long-term effect of vitamin C in asthma. In conclusion, even though vitamin C did not show any Th1/Th2 shifting effects in this experiment, it still exerted moderate anti-inflammatory effects. Considering other beneficial effects and inexpensiveness of vitamin C, mega-dose usage of vitamin C could be a potential supplementary modality for the management of asthma.
Asthma; Vitamin C; Lung inflammation; Th1/Th2 balance
The inner-city pediatric population in the United States has a disproportionate burden of asthma. Recent attention has focused on the immunomodulatory role of vitamin D, which may be protective against disease morbidity. As the primary determinant of vitamin D status in humans is exposure to sunlight, we aimed to determine if 25-OH vitamin D levels in urban preschool children with asthma were low, influenced by time spent outdoors, and associated with asthma morbidity.
Serum 25-OH vitamin D levels were measured at baseline in a cohort of 121 inner-city children ages 2–6 years with asthma in Baltimore, MD. Participants were followed longitudinally at 3 and 6 months to assess time spent outdoors, asthma symptoms through questionnaires and daily diaries, and allergic markers.
In a predominantly black population of preschool children, the median 25-OH vitamin D level was 28 ng/mL (IQR 21.2-36.9), with 54% of the children below the traditionally sufficient level of 30 ng/mL and 7.4% in the range associated with risk of rickets (< 15 ng/mL). The median time spent outdoors was 3 hours/day (IQR 2–4), and greater time spent outdoors was not associated with higher vitamin D levels. 25-OH vitamin D did not show seasonal variation in our cohort (p = 0.66). Lower 25-OH levels were correlated with higher IgE levels.
Urban African-American preschool children with asthma have high rates of vitamin D insufficiency, and increased outdoor exposure is unlikely to correct these low 25-OH vitamin D levels. Repletion in this population may require dietary supplementation.
Asthma; Vitamin D; Outdoor; Ultraviolet; Exposure
Current data overwhelmingly document the existence of a worldwide asthma epidemic, although individual studies remain controversial. The epidemic is thought to involve primarily persons with allergic asthma, and many diverse theories, based on an immunopathologic understanding of disease, have recently emerged to explain this involvement. In the context of recent insights into the immune basis of experimental asthma, we discuss in this review the leading asthma epidemic theories, including a new theory based on inhaled environmental proteases. Although no single theory may yet be fully embraced, there exists substantial hope that a unifying mechanism for the epidemic will be revealed through additional research.
There are no nationwide, comprehensive public health programmes on allergic disorders with set goals and systematic follow-up. The Finnish initiative is based on the idea that the so called allergy epidemic in modern, urban societies is caused by inadequately developed or broken tolerance. The immune system is not trained to make the difference between danger and non-danger (allergy) or the difference between self and non-self (autoimmune diseases). The immune dysfunction leads to inappropriate inflammatory responses and clinical symptoms. The 10-year implementation programme is aimed to reduce burden of allergies both at the individual and societal levels. This is done by increasing both immunological and psychological tolerance and changing attitudes to support health instead of medicalising common and mild allergy symptoms. Severe forms of allergy are in special focus, e.g. asthma attacks are prevented proactively by improving disease control with the help of guided self-management. Networking of allergy experts with primary care doctors and nurses as well with pharmacists is the key for effective implementation. Non-governmental organizations have started a campaign to increase allergy awareness and knowledge among patients and general public. It is time to act, when allergic individuals are becoming a majority of Western populations and their numbers are in rapid increase worldwide. The first results of the Finnish Programme indicate that allergy burden can be reduced with relatively simple means.
Allergy programme; Asthma attack; Immune tolerance; Public health programme; Self-management
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic autoimmune liver disease characterized by inflammation and destruction of intrahepatic biliary epithelial cells, ultimately leading to liver failure. The serological hallmark of PBC is the presence of high-titer antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA) against the inner lipoyl domain of E2 subunits of 2-oxo-acid dehydrogenase complexes, in particular the E2 component of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC-E2). The initiating events triggering the autoimmune response are not yet identified but the hypothesis of molecular mimicry is a widely proposed mechanism for the development of autoimmunity in PBC. Several candidates, including bacteria and viruses have been suggested as causative agents, but also environmental factors, such as chemical xenobiotics, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of primary biliary cirrhosis. In this review, we will discuss our current knowledge of the immunoreactivity of xenobiotically modified PDC peptide antigens. In addition, we will provide a working hypothesis how xenobiotic modification of antigens might occur that ultimately leads to the breaking of self-tolerance and the induction of PBC.
Autoantibodies; chemicals; environmental factors; immunopathology; tolerance
This paper looks at the environmental role of vitamin D and solar radiation as risk reduction factors in autoimmune disease. Five diseases are considered: multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disease of the thyroid, and inflammatory bowel disease. Clinical relevant studies and factors that may indicate evidence that autoimmune disease is a vitamin D-sensitive disease are presented. Studies that have resulted in prevention or amelioration of some autoimmune disease are discussed. An example of the utility of supplementing vitamin D in an unusual autoimmune disease, idiopathic thrombocytic purpura, is presented.
The epidemic scourge of rickets in the 19th century was caused by vitamin D deficiency due to inadequate sun exposure and resulted in growth retardation, muscle weakness, skeletal deformities, hypocalcemia, tetany, and seizures. The encouragement of sensible sun exposure and the fortification of milk with vitamin D resulted in almost complete eradication of the disease. Vitamin D (where D represents D2 or D3) is biologically inert and metabolized in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], the major circulating form of vitamin D that is used to determine vitamin D status. 25(OH)D is activated in the kidneys to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], which regulates calcium, phosphorus, and bone metabolism. Vitamin D deficiency has again become an epidemic in children, and rickets has become a global health issue. In addition to vitamin D deficiency, calcium deficiency and acquired and inherited disorders of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus metabolism cause rickets. This review summarizes the role of vitamin D in the prevention of rickets and its importance in the overall health and welfare of infants and children.
The lung is constantly exposed to the environment and its microbial components. Infections of the respiratory tract are amongst the most common diseases. Several concepts describe how this microbial exposure interacts with allergic airway disease as it is found in patients with asthma. Infections are classical triggers of asthma exacerbations. In contrast, the hygiene hypothesis offers an explanation for the increase in allergic diseases by establishing a connection between microbial exposure during childhood and the risk of developing asthma. This premise states that the microbial environment interacts with the innate immune system and that this interrelation is needed for the fine-tuning of the overall immune response. Based on the observed protective effect of farming environments against asthma, animal models have been developed to determine the effect of specific bacterial stimuli on the development of allergic inflammation. A variety of studies have shown a protective effect of bacterial products in allergen-induced lung inflammation. Conversely, recent studies have also shown that allergic inflammation inhibits antimicrobial host defense and renders animals more susceptible to bacterial infections. This paper focuses on examples of animal models of allergic disease that deal with the complex interactions of the innate and adaptive immune system and microbial stressors.
Vitamin D may be essential for restricting the development and severity of allergic diseases and asthma, but a direct causal link between vitamin D deficiency and asthma has yet to be established. We have developed a ‘low dose’ model of allergic airway disease induced by intraperitoneal injection with ovalbumin (1 µg) and aluminium hydroxide (0.2 mg) in which characteristics of atopic asthma are recapitulated, including airway hyperresponsiveness, antigen-specific immunoglobulin type-E and lung inflammation. We assessed the effects of vitamin D deficiency throughout life (from conception until adulthood) on the severity of ovalbumin-induced allergic airway disease in vitamin D-replete and -deficient BALB/c mice using this model. Vitamin D had protective effects such that deficiency significantly enhanced eosinophil and neutrophil numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of male but not female mice. Vitamin D also suppressed the proliferation and T helper cell type-2 cytokine-secreting capacity of airway-draining lymph node cells from both male and female mice. Supplementation of initially vitamin D-deficient mice with vitamin D for four weeks returned serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D to levels observed in initially vitamin D-replete mice, and also suppressed eosinophil and neutrophil numbers in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of male mice. Using generic 16 S rRNA primers, increased bacterial levels were detected in the lungs of initially vitamin D-deficient male mice, which were also reduced by vitamin D supplementation. These results indicate that vitamin D controls granulocyte levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in an allergen-sensitive manner, and may contribute towards the severity of asthma in a gender-specific fashion through regulation of respiratory bacteria.