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Lupus flares totally eliminated by loading dose then 100000 IU of vitamin D each month – Oct 2012

Restoration of regulatory and effector T cell balance and B cell homeostasis in systemic lupus erythematosus patients through vitamin D supplementation

Benjamin Terrier, Nicolas Derian, Yoland Schoindre, Wahiba Chaara, Guillaume Geri, Noel Zahr, Kuberaka Mariampillai, Michelle Rosenzwajg, Wassila Carpentier, Lucile Musset, Jean-Charles Piette, Adrien Six, David Klatzmann, David Saadoun, Patrice Cacoub and Nathalie Costedoat-Chalumeau
Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R221 doi:10.1186/ar4060
Published: 17 October 2012

Introduction: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a T and B cell-dependent autoimmune disease characterized by the appearance of autoantibodies, a global regulatory T cells (Tregs) depletion and an increase in Th17 cells. Recent studies have shown the multifaceted immunomodulatory effects of vitamin D, notably the expansion of Tregs and the decrease of Th1 and Th17 cells. A significant correlation between higher disease activity and lower serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels [25(OH)D] was also shown.

Methods: In this prospective study, we evaluated the safety and the immunological effects of vitamin D supplementation (100 000 IU of cholecalciferol per week for 4 weeks, followed by 100 000 IU of cholecalciferol per month for 6 months.) in 20 SLE patients with hypovitaminosis D.

Results: Serum 25(OH)D levels dramatically increased under vitamin D supplementation from 18.7+/-6.7 at day 0 to 51.4+/-14.1 (p<0.001) at 2 months and 41.5+/-10.1 ng/mL (p<0.001) at 6 months. Vitamin D was well tolerated and induced a preferential increase of naive CD4+ T cells, an increase of regulatory T cells and a decrease of effector Th1 and Th17 cells. Vitamin D also induced a decrease of memory B cells and anti-DNA antibodies. No modification of the prednisone dosage or initiation of new immunosuppressant agents was needed in all patients.
We did not observe SLE flare during the 6 months follow-up period.

Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests the beneficial role of vitamin D in SLE patients and needs to be confirmed in randomized controlled trials.

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