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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar;103(3-5):811-4. Epub 2007 Jan 31.

1,25(OH)2D3 inhibits in vitro and in vivo intracellular growth of apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

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Institut de Parasitologie et de Pathologie et Tropicale, de la Faculté de Médecine, EA 3950 Interactions Cellulaires et Moléculaires Hôte-Parasite, 3 rue Koeberlé, 67000 Strasbourg, France.


The hormonal form of vitamin D, 1,25-dyhydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), is implicated in a wide range of functions other than its classical role in calcium and phosphorous homeostasis. When Toxoplasma gondii-infected BALB/c mice were treated with 1,25(OH)2D3, they succumb to death sooner than their counterparts. But they showed less parasite burden in tissues which was further supported by mild pathological lesions. As an effort to understand the physiological mechanism for the above observation an in vitro study was performed. Fewer parasites were observed when 1,25(OH)2D3 pre-treated murine intestinal epithelial cells were challenged with parasites. Moreover, the observed inhibition was dose-dependent and had a maximum effect with 10(-7)M of 1,25(OH)2D3. However, no observable difference was observed, when pre-incubated parasites were added to cells suggesting that the observed inhibition was a result of an effect from 1,25(OH)2D3 on Toxoplasma intracellular growth. Our data support the notion that 1,25(OH)2D3 may inhibit intra cellular T. gondii parasite proliferation in vivo and in vitro.

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