Dietary calcium is a major factor in 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol suppression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice

Margherita T. Cantorna, Jean Humpal-Winter, Hector F. DeLuca

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115 Scopus citations

Abstract

The active form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol) is a potent immune system regulator. Treating mice with 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol and feeding them diets high in calcium can completely suppress the induction of experimental autoimmune diseases such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Experiments described here were carried out on mice in which development of EAE was induced. Mice were fed diets containing various amounts of calcium and 1,25-dihydroxychole-calciferol. Variables measured were as follows: 1) incidence and severity of EAE; 2) serum calcium concentrations; 3) body weight; 4) total number of cells in the lymph nodes; and 5) interleukin-4 (IL-4) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) mRNA levels. When calcium was removed from the diet, the incidence of EAE was reduced 20% in both males and females. Further, the lower the dietary level of calcium, the higher was the dose of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol required to prevent the symptoms. Thus, 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol was found most effective in mice fed a diet adequate or high in calcium. 1,25- Dihydroxycholecalciferol treatment of mice fed high dietary calcium resulted in a decreased number of lymphocytes in the lymph nodes and increased IL-4 and TGF-β1 mRNA levels. When calcium was omitted from the diet, 1,25- dihydroxycholecalciferol supplementation increased TGF-β1 mRNA. Increased IL-4 mRNA and decreased lymphocytes in the lymph nodes in response to 1,25- dihydroxycholecalciferol occurred only when dietary calcium was adequate or high. Our results suggest that dietary calcium and 1,25- dihydroxycholecalciferol are both involved in the prevention of symptomatic EAE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1966-1971
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume129
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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