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J Asthma Allergy. 2012;5:11-9. doi: 10.2147/JAA.S29566. Epub 2012 May 9.

The impact of vitamin D deficiency on immune T cells in asthmatic children: a case-control study.

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1
Department of Basic Sciences, Medicine School of Tunis, University Tunis El Manar, Tunis.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Vitamin D exerts profound effects on both adaptive and innate immune functions involved in the development and course of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. As the incidence of vitamin D insufficiency is surprisingly high in the general population, experimental studies have started to investigate whether vitamin D levels (measured as serum 25 hydroxy vitamin D-25[OH]D) are correlated with immune cells and clinical parameters.

PURPOSE:

The aim of the present research was to investigate serum vitamin D status in a case-control study in children with asthma and to study associations between vitamin D levels and certain immunological parameters.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A case control study of thirty-nine children with clinically controlled asthma was enrolled to assess the relationship between serum vitamin D concentrations and disease activity. Vitamin D was assayed with a radioimmunoassay kit. We evaluated the relationship between vitamin D concentrations and forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)), and the FEV(1)/FVC ratio. Correlations between inflammatory mediators, Th1, Th2, Th17, and regulatory T cells (Treg) and vitamin D were investigated.

RESULTS:

Only 15.38% of our asthmatic children had a sufficient serum 25(OH)D (≥30 ng/mL) whereas 80% of healthy children expressed sufficient levels. Deficient values of vitamin D (<20 ng/mL) were observed in 17 (43.59%) asthmatic patients (14.40 ± 3.30 ng/mL; P = 0.0001). Deficiency was not observed in controls. Th1/Th2 ratio was significantly correlated to 25(OH) D level (r = 0.698; P = 0.0001). A significant negative correlation was observed between serum interleukin-17 and vitamin D levels in young asthmatics (r = -0.617; P = 0.001). A significant correlation was observed between CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Treg cells and vitamin D values in asthmatics (r = 0.368; P = 0.021).

CONCLUSION:

Even in a southern Mediterranean country, hypovitaminosis D is frequent in children with asthma. Our findings suggest that vitamin D is an important promoter of T cell regulation in vivo in young asthmatics.

KEYWORDS:

Th17; Treg cells; asthma; children; vitamin D

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