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PLoS One. 2010 Nov 29;5(11):e15469. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015469.

In vivo activation of the intracrine vitamin D pathway in innate immune cells and mammary tissue during a bacterial infection.

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Diseases and Immunology Research Unit, National Animal Disease Center, Agriculture Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Ames, Iowa, USA.


Numerous in vitro studies have shown that toll-like receptor signaling induces 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) 1α-hydroxylase (1α-OHase; CYP27B1) expression in macrophages from various species. 1α-OHase is the primary enzyme that converts 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)). Subsequently, synthesis of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) by 1α-OHase in macrophages has been shown to modulate innate immune responses of macrophages. Despite the numerous in vitro studies that have shown 1α-OHase expression is induced in macrophages, however, evidence that 1α-OHase expression is induced by pathogens in vivo is limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate 1α-OHase gene expression in macrophages and mammary tissue during an in vivo bacterial infection with Streptococcus uberis. In tissue and secreted cells from the infected mammary glands, 1α-OHase gene expression was significantly increased compared to expression in tissue and cells from the healthy mammary tissue. Separation of the cells by FACS9 revealed that 1α-OHase was predominantly expressed in the CD14(+) cells isolated from the infected mammary tissue. The 24-hydroxylase gene, a gene that is highly upregulated by 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), was significantly more expressed in tissue and cells from the infected mammary tissue than from the healthy uninfected mammary tissue thus indicating significant local 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) production at the infection site. In conclusion, this study provides the first in vivo evidence that 1α-OHase expression is upregulated in macrophages in response to bacterial infection and that 1α-OHase at the site of infection provides 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) for local regulation of vitamin D responsive genes.

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