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Acta Neuropathol. 2003 May;105(5):438-48. Epub 2003 Jan 31.

Treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in rat by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 leads to early effects within the central nervous system.

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INSERM ERIT-M 0104, 10 rue André Boquel, 49100 Angers, France.


We report here that curative treatment of the multiple sclerosis paradigm, chronic relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) of the Lewis rat, by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3 )(1,25-D3) leads to a rapid clinical improvement accompanied by an inhibition of CD4, MHC class II and type II nitric oxide synthase (NOS II) expression in the posterior areas of the central nervous system (CNS). In contrast, the hormone has no effect on transforming growth factor-beta1 transcripts. Computer analysis of the NOS II promoter, expressed by microglia and astrocytes, reveals consensus sequence for vitamin D receptor binding, emphasizing the idea that 1,25-D3 may regulate some aspects of EAE by acting directly on CNS constituent cells. We also demonstrate that vitamin D deprivation leads to minimal effects on the kinetic profile of EAE accompanied by a moderate exacerbation of the clinical symptoms. Interestingly, curative treatment of vitamin D-deprived rats with a non-toxic-1,25-D3 analogue (MC1288) strongly inhibited EAE symptoms, thus promulgating the potential interest of such compounds in the management of multiple sclerosis.

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