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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Jun;127(6):1532-40.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.01.068. Epub 2011 Apr 17.

Vitamin D3 targets epidermal and dermal dendritic cells for induction of distinct regulatory T cells.

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Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



The vitamin D metabolite 1,25(OH)2D3 (VitD3) is a potent immunosuppressive drug and, among others, is used for topical treatment of psoriasis. A proposed mechanism of VitD3-mediated suppression is priming of dendritic cells (DCs) to induce regulatory T (Treg) cells.


Currently, there is confusion about the phenotype of VitD3-induced Treg cells and the DC-derived molecules driving their development. We investigated Treg cell induction after VitD3 priming of 2 distinct skin DC subsets: Langerhans cells (LCs) and dermal dendritic cells (DDCs).


LCs and DDCs primed with VitD3 were cocultured with allogeneic naive T cells. The phenotype and function of the DCs and induced T cells were analyzed.


Both VitD3-primed DC subtypes induced T cells with regulatory activity. Unexpectedly, whereas the Treg cell populations generated by VitD3-primed LCs were CD25(hi)CD127(lo) forkhead box protein 3 (Foxp3)-positive cells, which meet the criteria of classical inducible Treg cells, the T cells developing in response to VitD3-primed DDCs were Foxp3(-) T(R)1 cells expressing IL-10. Inhibition experiments revealed that LC-derived TGF-β is a key factor in the induction of Foxp3(+) Treg cells, whereas DDC-derived IL-10 is important for the induction of IL-10(+) T(R)1 cells.


Thus we report the novel finding that distinct but closely related DC subsets are differentially programmed by VitD3 to support development of either TGF-β-dependent Foxp3(+) Treg cells or IL-10-dependent IL-10(+) Treg cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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