The dynamic immunomodulatory effects of vitamin D3 during Mycobacterium infection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Mycobacterium tuberculosis ( Mtb), is a highly infectious airborne bacterium. Previous studies have found vitamin D3 to be a key factor in the defense against Mtb infection, through its regulation of the production of immune-related cytokines, chemokines and effector molecules. Mycobacterium smegmatis was used in our study as a surrogate of Mtb. We hypothesized that the continuous presence of vitamin D3, as well as the level of severity of infection would differentially modulate host cell immune response in comparison with control and the vehicle, ethanol. We found that vitamin D3 conditioning promotes increased bacterial clearance during low-level infection, intracellular containment during high-level infection, and minimizes host cytotoxicity. In the presence of vitamin D3 host cell production of cytokines and effector molecules was infection-level dependent, most notably IL-12, which increased during high-level infection and decreased during low-level infection, and NO, which had a rate of change positively correlated to IL-12. Our study provides evidence that vitamin D3 modulation is context-dependent and time-variant, as well as highly correlated to level of infection. This study furthers our mechanistic understanding of the dual role of vitamin D3 as a regulator of bactericidal molecules and protective agent against host cell damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-523
Number of pages18
JournalInnate Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • macrophage
  • malnutrition
  • Mycobacterium smegmatis
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'The dynamic immunomodulatory effects of vitamin D3 during Mycobacterium infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this