Send to

Choose Destination
Infect Immun. 1987 Dec;55(12):2945-50.

Inhibition by 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D3 of the multiplication of virulent tubercle bacilli in cultured human macrophages.

Author information

Webb-Waring Lung Institute, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262.


Historically, sunlight has seemed to fortify antituberculosis resistance. Evidence is presented here suggesting a role for vitamin D in this effect. The active metabolite of this photosynthesized vitamin, 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D3 (1,25D), promotes maturation and activation of human monocytes and macrophages (MPs). Therefore, it was tested for ability to protect MPs against virulent tubercle bacilli. MPs were derived by 7-day culture from blood monocytes, infected with the bacilli, and exposed to 1,25D in several regimens. Their inhibition of bacilli was measured by lysing samples of the cultures at 0, 4, and 7 days after infection and making bacillary CFU counts from serial dilutions of the lysates. 1,25D enabled MPs to slow or stop bacillary replication. Autologous serum supported the 1,25D-induced protection because the vitamin was not effective in medium supplemented with a serum substitute and was less effective in a heterologous AB serum than in autologous serum. The protection developed rapidly and could be induced even when 1,25D was added 3 days after infection. A concentration on the order of 4 micrograms/ml was needed for protection by the regimens used in these experiments. That is considerably higher than normal circulating concentrations of 1,25D but could be reached in infectious granulomas, because MPs can make 1,25D from precursor 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. The precursor circulates at levels 10(3) higher than those of 1,25D and is directly influenced by dietary intake or photosynthetic production of vitamin D. These results identify 1,25D as an immunomodulator which can reproducibly activate human MPs to express tuberculoimmunity. They connect vitamin D, sunlight, and tuberculoimmunity and suggest that vitamin D should be considered a vital factor in the practical control of tuberculosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center