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J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Feb;132(2):330-6. doi: 10.1038/jid.2011.296. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Vitamin D receptor activation improves allergen-triggered eczema in mice.

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Allergie-Centrum-Charité, CCM, Klinik für Dermatologie und Allergologie, Charité -Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disease that has increased in prevalence over the last several decades in industrialized countries. AD is a multifactorial, heterogenous disease with a variety of defects in the immune system, in antimicrobial defense mechanisms and epidermal barrier integrity, which collectively contribute to the risk and severity of AD development. Vitamin D receptor (VDR) signaling has been shown to be important not only in the immune system but also in the skin and in particular keratinocytes to regulate skin homeostasis and epidermal barrier function. However, this work aimed to analyze the role and clinical efficiency of VDR activation by a VDR agonist without calcium-mobilizing activity in a mouse model of allergen-triggered eczema. We show that the systemic administration of the low-calcemic VDR agonist significantly improved the allergen-triggered eczema. Thereby, forkhead box P3 (Foxp3)-expressing regulatory T cells, revealed to have a role in AD, were selectively increased in the skin of VDR agonist-treated mice. Moreover, our results demonstrate a marked induction of skin barrier gene and antimicrobial peptide gene expression in skin lesions of VDR agonist-treated mice. Thus, our study provides evidence that systemic VDR agonist treatment may improve allergen-triggered eczema in vivo.

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