Oncotarget

Research Papers:

A vitamin D receptor agonist converts CD4+ T cells to Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in patients with ulcerative colitis

Dong Lu, Bin Lan _, Zonren Din, Hang Chen and Guoqiang Chen

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:53552-53562. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18614

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Abstract

Dong Lu1,*, Bin Lan2,*, Zonren Din2, Hang Chen2 and Guoqiang Chen2

1Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou 350005, China

2Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou 350005, China

*Dong Lu and Bin Lan equally contributed to this work

Correspondence to:

Bin Lan, email: binrlan@sina.com

Keywords: intestine, ulcerative colitis, Th2 polarization, vitamin D receptor, agonist

Received: February 15, 2017    Accepted: May 22, 2017    Published: June 27, 2017

ABSTRACT

One of the pathological features of ulcerative colitis (UC) is the dysfunction of immune regulatory T cells (Treg cells); the pathogenesis is unclear and needs to be further investigated. Vitamin D has immune regulatory functions. This study tests a hypothesis that vitamin D receptor (VDR) regulates Treg cell differentiation. Peripheral blood samples were collected from UC patients and healthy subjects. The correlation between VDR expression and T helper (Th)2 cell differentiation in peripheral CD4+ T cells was analyzed. We observed that the expression of VDR was lower, the expression of interleukin (IL)-4 was higher, in peripheral CD4+ T cells of UC patients than that in healthy controls. Naive CD4+ T cells from VDR deficient mice were prone to differentiating into Th2 cells, which could be adjusted by the presence of VDR agonists. The Th2 polarization status in the peripheral CD4+ T cells of UC patients could be converted to regulatory T cells in the culture in the presence of VDR agonists. In conclusion, the peripheral Th2 cells in UC patients can be converted to regulatory T cells by VDR agonists in the culture. The results suggest that administration of VDR agonists at proper dosages may improve the immunity of UC patients.


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