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Cell Immunol. 1986 Apr 1;98(2):311-22.

Differential effects of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on human lymphocytes and monocyte/macrophages: inhibition of interleukin-2 and augmentation of interleukin-1 production.


Human peripheral blood monocytes and activated, but not resting, lymphocytes possess specific intracellular receptors for the active metabolite of vitamin D3, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-(OH)2D3). The effects of 1,25-(OH)2D3 on the function of these cells was therefore examined. The addition of physiologic concentrations of the hormone (0.001-0.1 nM) to lectin- or antigen-activated lymphocytes resulted in inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation. Supernatants from lectin-activated lymphocytes incubated with 1,25-(OH)2D3 had reduced interleukin-2 (IL-2) activity. The immediate biological precursor of 1,25-(OH)2D3, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, did not affect function of lymphocytes or monocytes. The ability of exogenous recombinant IL-2 to reverse the inhibitory effects of the hormone on lymphocyte proliferation suggest that 1,25-(OH)2D3 does not alter the generation of IL-2 receptors. In contrast to its effects on IL-2 production, 1,25-(OH)2D3 caused a dose-dependent increase in the production of interleukin-1 (IL-1) by monocyte/macrophages. These results suggest that immune cells and their products can be regulated in a specific but diverse fashion by the vitamin D3-endocrine system.

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