Vitamin D Supplementation Reduces Induction of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Allergen Sensitized and Challenged Mice

Kimberly D. Fischer, Sannette C. Hall, Devendra K. Agrawal

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33 Scopus citations


Asthma is a chronic disease of the lung associated with airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), airway obstruction and airway remodeling. Airway remodeling involves differentiation of airway epithelial cells into myofibroblasts via epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to intensify the degree of subepithelial fibrosis. EMT involves loss in E-cadherin with an increase in mesenchymal markers, including vimentin and N-cadherin. There is growing evidence that Vitamin D has immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of these effects are still unclear. In this study, we examined the contribution of Vitamin D on the AHR, airway inflammation and expression of EMT markers in the airways of mice sensitized and challenged with a combination of clinically relevant allergens, house dust mite, ragweed, and Alternaria (HRA). Female Balb/c mice were fed with Vitamin D-sufficient (2000 IU/kg) or Vitamin D-supplemented (10,000 IU/kg) diet followed by sensitization with HRA. The density of inflammatory cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), lung histology, and expression of EMT markers by immunofluorescence were examined. Vitamin D-supplementation decreased AHR, airway inflammation in the BALF and the features of airway remodeling compared to Vitamin D-sufficiency in HRA-sensitized and -challenged mice. This was accompanied with increased expression of E-cadherin and decreased vimentin and N-cadherin expression in the airways. These results indicate that Vitamin D may be a beneficial adjunct in the treatment regime in allergic asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0149180
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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