Efficacy and mechanisms of action of vitamin D in experimental polyarthritis

Mahin Moghaddami, Graham Mayrhofer, Paul H. Anderson, Howard A. Morris, Mark Van Der Hoek, Leslie G. Cleland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Vitamin D (vit D) status has been linked to the occurrence and severity of auto-immune and inflammatory diseases. This study evaluates the effects of vit D status on adoptive transfer of adjuvant-induced arthritis (ATA). Rats maintained on diets replete or deficient in vit D3 received arthritogenic thoracic duct cells and were monitored for severity of arthritis. CD45 cells obtained by collagenase digestion of hind-paw synovium-rich tissues (SRTs) were analysed to observe the effects of dietary vit D3 on the inflammatory process. Arthritis was more severe in vitamin D-deficient (vit-D ) rats compared with vitamin D-replete (vit-D ) rats. Resolution was delayed in vit-D rats compared with vit-D rats, or rats fed standard chow. During the acute phase of ATA, numbers of CD45 cells were significantly increased in the SRTs of vit-D rats compared with vit-D rats. This increase involved T-cells, polymorphonuclear leukocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells (DCs) and MHC II hi cells that resemble activated monocytes. A major difference between the dietary groups was that most DCs at the peak of inflammation in vit-D rats were CD4 -, whereas in convalescent vit-D rats most expressed CD4. Multiple categories of genes expressed by DCs differed between deficient and replete rats, with deficiency being associated with relative upregulation of certain pro-inflammatory genes and replete status being associated with upregulation of genes associated with resolution of inflammation. The findings indicate that ATA is more severe and prolonged in vit-D deficiency, that vit-D deficiency promotes accumulation of CD4 DCs in synovium during ATA and that a gene-expression profile is likely to contribute to the observed increased severity and duration of arthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-177
Number of pages10
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • animal model
  • dendritic cell
  • gene expression
  • polyarthritis
  • synovial cells
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology

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