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      Vitamin D in Autoimmunity: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Potential

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          Abstract

          Over the last three decades, it has become clear that the role of vitamin D goes beyond the regulation of calcium homeostasis and bone health. An important extraskeletal effect of vitamin D is the modulation of the immune system. In the context of autoimmune diseases, this is illustrated by correlations of vitamin D status and genetic polymorphisms in the vitamin D receptor with the incidence and severity of the disease. These correlations warrant investigation into the potential use of vitamin D in the treatment of patients with autoimmune diseases. In recent years, several clinical trials have been performed to investigate the therapeutic value of vitamin D in multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, type I diabetes, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Additionally, a second angle of investigation has focused on unraveling the molecular pathways used by vitamin D in order to find new potential therapeutic targets. This review will not only provide an overview of the clinical trials that have been performed but also discuss the current knowledge about the molecular mechanisms underlying the immunomodulatory effects of vitamin D and how these advances can be used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

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          Most cited references 180

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          Interleukin-23 rather than interleukin-12 is the critical cytokine for autoimmune inflammation of the brain.

          Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a heterodimeric molecule composed of p35 and p40 subunits. Analyses in vitro have defined IL-12 as an important factor for the differentiation of naive T cells into T-helper type 1 CD4+ lymphocytes secreting interferon-gamma (refs 1, 2). Similarly, numerous studies have concluded that IL-12 is essential for T-cell-dependent immune and inflammatory responses in vivo, primarily through the use of IL-12 p40 gene-targeted mice and neutralizing antibodies against p40. The cytokine IL-23, which comprises the p40 subunit of IL-12 but a different p19 subunit, is produced predominantly by macrophages and dendritic cells, and shows activity on memory T cells. Evidence from studies of IL-23 receptor expression and IL-23 overexpression in transgenic mice suggest, however, that IL-23 may also affect macrophage function directly. Here we show, by using gene-targeted mice lacking only IL-23 and cytokine replacement studies, that the perceived central role for IL-12 in autoimmune inflammation, specifically in the brain, has been misinterpreted and that IL-23, and not IL-12, is the critical factor in this response. In addition, we show that IL-23, unlike IL-12, acts more broadly as an end-stage effector cytokine through direct actions on macrophages.
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            Vitamin D receptor-mediated stromal reprogramming suppresses pancreatitis and enhances pancreatic cancer therapy.

            The poor clinical outcome in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is attributed to intrinsic chemoresistance and a growth-permissive tumor microenvironment. Conversion of quiescent to activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) drives the severe stromal reaction that characterizes PDA. Here, we reveal that the vitamin D receptor (VDR) is expressed in stroma from human pancreatic tumors and that treatment with the VDR ligand calcipotriol markedly reduced markers of inflammation and fibrosis in pancreatitis and human tumor stroma. We show that VDR acts as a master transcriptional regulator of PSCs to reprise the quiescent state, resulting in induced stromal remodeling, increased intratumoral gemcitabine, reduced tumor volume, and a 57% increase in survival compared to chemotherapy alone. This work describes a molecular strategy through which transcriptional reprogramming of tumor stroma enables chemotherapeutic response and suggests vitamin D priming as an adjunct in PDA therapy. PAPERFLICK: Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Nuclear Receptors, RXR, and the Big Bang.

              Isolation of genes encoding the receptors for steroids, retinoids, vitamin D, and thyroid hormone and their structural and functional analysis revealed an evolutionarily conserved template for nuclear hormone receptors. This discovery sparked identification of numerous genes encoding related proteins, termed orphan receptors. Characterization of these orphan receptors and, in particular, of the retinoid X receptor (RXR) positioned nuclear receptors at the epicenter of the "Big Bang" of molecular endocrinology. This Review provides a personal perspective on nuclear receptors and explores their integrated and coordinated signaling networks that are essential for multicellular life, highlighting the RXR heterodimer and its associated ligands and transcriptional mechanism. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Immunol
                Front Immunol
                Front. Immunol.
                Frontiers in Immunology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-3224
                20 January 2017
                2016
                : 7
                Affiliations
                1Department of Rheumatology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center , Rotterdam, Netherlands
                2Department of Immunology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center , Rotterdam, Netherlands
                3Department of Rheumatology, ZGT , Almelo, Netherlands
                Author notes

                Edited by: Junji Yodoi, Kyoto University, Japan

                Reviewed by: Kiyoshi Hirahara, Chiba University, Japan; Eiji Yoshihara, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, USA

                *Correspondence: Erik Lubberts, e.lubberts@ 123456erasmusmc.nl

                Specialty section: This article was submitted to Inflammation, a section of the journal Frontiers in Immunology

                Article
                10.3389/fimmu.2016.00697
                5247472
                Copyright © 2017 Dankers, Colin, van Hamburg and Lubberts.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 248, Pages: 26, Words: 22054
                Funding
                Funded by: Reumafonds 10.13039/501100006315
                Award ID: 10-1-407
                Categories
                Immunology
                Review

                Immunology

                vitamin d, autoimmune disease, supplementation, t cells, b cells, dendritic cells, macrophages

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