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J Leukoc Biol. 2012 May;91(5):829-38. doi: 10.1189/jlb.1011523. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

Age and low levels of circulating vitamin D are associated with impaired innate immune function.

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Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Cantabria, Avda. Valdecilla s/n, 39008, Santander, Spain.


This study investigated in vivo the influence of age and vitamin D status on innate immune function in HC. Serum 25OHD was measured in 71 HC. TLR expression on various subpopulations of PBMCs, as well as TLR function by stimulating PBMCs with specific ligands, was assessed by flow cytometry. Circulating cathelicidin levels were determined by ELISA. Serum 25OHD levels decreased with age, and there was a significant inverse correlation between 25OHD levels and age. There was a negative correlation between serum 25OHD levels and MFI expression of TLR7 on B cells, T cells, and monocytes. TLR7 function, addressed by in vitro stimulation with a specific agonist, was significantly correlated with serum 25OHD levels, and this was especially a result of the results in HC older than 60 years. MFI expression of TLR5 on T cells and TLR2 on monocytes was also negatively correlated with serum 25OHD levels. TLR1 (monocytes) and TLR2 (monocytes) expression was positively correlated with age. Furthermore, TLR4 and TLR8 function was negatively correlated with age. Circulating cathelicidin levels decreased with age and were positively correlated with 25OHD levels. Aging is accompanied by changes in expression and function of several TLRs. Serum 25OHD levels decrease with age and are also associated with a change in expression and defective function of certain TLRs, especially those involved in viral response.

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