Expression of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) receptor in the immune system

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2000 Feb 15;374(2):334-8. doi: 10.1006/abbi.1999.1605.


In addition to its role in calcium and skeletal homeostasis, there is increasing evidence that the hormonal form of vitamin D, 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3), appears to serve as a modulator of the immune system. We have determined the level of the 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) receptor (VDR) in resting and activated lymphocytes by immuno- and ligand-binding assays. As expected from previous work, the total T lymphocyte population contains VDR whose levels are increased when activated and treated with 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3). Surprisingly, the highest concentrations of VDR are found in CD8 lymphocytes, although significant amounts are also present in CD4 lymphocytes. Furthermore, B lymphocytes do not contain detectable amounts of VDR. Cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage possess small amounts of VDR that are not affected by activation but are increased by treatment with 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3). These results suggest that CD8 lymphocytes may be a major site of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) action, while B lymphocytes are likely not directly regulated by 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Calcitriol / pharmacology
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / biosynthesis*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Calcitriol