In the present study, we examined whether anti-CD40+IL-4-mediated B cell proliferation and immunoglobulin synthesis is affected by vitamin D (VD) and its low-hypercalcemic analogue EB1089 in Bcells from healthy donors. Analysis of vitamin D receptor (VDR) expression showed that only anti-CD40+IL-4-stimulated, but not resting B cells express VDR. Studies on B cell proliferation revealed that anti-CD40+IL-4-mediated proliferation of B cells was not affected by VD or EB1089. By contrast, IgE synthesis was markedly inhibited by both, VD and EB1089, starting at concentrations from 10(-10) M for VD and 10(-12) M for EB1089, with maximal inhibition at 10(-6) M (VD 85.5+/-9.7%; EB1089 77.3+/-10.8%). The production of the other Ig (IgA and IgG) was not significantly inhibited by VD after anti-CD40+IL-4 stimulation, and IgM production was only slightly reduced (18.7+/-7.9%). These observations were confirmed by intracellular staining of the different isotypes in B cells after anti-CD40+IL-4 stimulation, which showed a strong reduction of IgE(+) cells in the presence of VD. Analyses of molecules that are known to affect IgE production (CD23 and IL-6) revealed that these are not involved in VD-dependent inhibition of IgE production. By contrast, epsilon germ-line transcription was inhibited by VD (41.2+/-26.1%; n=5), as was NF-kappaB (p50 and p65) protein expression in stimulated cells. These data show that VD and its analogue EB1089 inhibit IgE production of anti-CD40+IL-4-stimulated B cells in vitro. The involved mechanism includes epsilon germ-line transcription, NF-kappaB activation and switch recombination suggesting that complex mechanisms of VD action in anti-CD40+IL-4-stimulated B cells are responsible.