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HIV Clin Trials. 2012 May-Jun;13(3):162-70. doi: 10.1310/hct1303-162.

Correlation of increases in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D during vitamin D therapy with activation of CD4+ T lymphocytes in HIV-1-infected males.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.



In HIV-1-infected individuals, levels of CD4+ T lymphocytes are depleted and regulatory T-lymphocytes (Tregs) are elevated. In vitro studies have demonstrated effects of vitamin D on the growth and differentiation of these cells. We speculated whether supplementation with vitamin D could have an effect on CD4+ T lymphocytes or Tregs in HIV-1-infected males.


We conducted a placebo-controlled randomized study that ran for 16 weeks and included 61 HIV-1-infected males, of whom 51 completed the protocol. The participants were randomized to 1 of 3 daily treatments: (1) 0.5-1.0 µg calcitriol and 1200 IU (30 µg) cholecalciferol, (2) 1200 IU cholecalciferol, (3) placebo. Percentages of the following T-lymphocyte subsets were determined: naïve CD4+ and CD8+ cells, activated CD4+ and CD8+ cells, and CD3+CD4+CD25+CD127low Tregs. Furthermore 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and parathyroid hormone were measured.


No significant changes of the studied T-lymphocyte subsets occurred in the treatment groups compared to the placebo group. Increases in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D were associated with increases in activated CD4+ T lymphocytes (P = .001) and Tregs (P = .01) in adjusted models. Changes in parathyroid hormone correlated inversely with Tregs (P = .02). Smokers had higher levels of naïve CD4+ T lymphocytes (37% vs 25%;P = .01), naïve CD8+ T lymphocytes (28% vs 19%; P = .03), and Tregs (9% vs 7%; P = .03).


Cholecalciferol and calcitriol administered during 16 weeks did not change the levels of T-lymphocyte fractions compared to placebo. However, increases in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D were associated with an expansion of activated CD4+ cells and Tregs.


[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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