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).
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.