1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 attenuates the expression of experimental murine lupus of MRL/l mice

Autoimmunity. 1992;12(2):143-8. doi: 10.3109/08916939209150321.


The murine strain MRL/l spontaneously develops a systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)-like syndrome. An increased number of T cells and polyclonal T helper cell activity has been described in these mice suggesting a potential role for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D3 [1,25-D3], an antiproliferative hormone selecting the T-helper lymphocyte subset. One month old MRL/l mice were submitted or not to 1,25-D3 0.1 microgram for 4 weeks, then 0.15 microgram given i.p. every other day for 18 weeks while maintained on a low calcium chow. Dermatologic lesions, i.e. alopecia, necrosis of the ear and scab formation, were completely inhibited by 1,25-D3 therapy. By 20 weeks, all mice had developed proteinuria. However, the degree of proteinuria was somewhat reduced in treated mice as assessed by urine protein/creatine ratios (less than 4 vs greater than 4 in treated vs untreated mice respectively). Moreover, a trend for a reduction in serum titers for anti-ssDNA antibodies was observed at 18 weeks. The active vitamin D metabolite had no effect on the development of the generalized lymphoid hyperplasia. Hypercalcemia developed when 1,25-D3 was increased to 0.15 microgram (2.62 +/- 0.12 vs 1.97 +/- 0.07 mmol/l, treated vs untreated mice respectively). These results suggest a beneficial role of 1,25-D3 in the prevention or attenuation of some manifestations of murine SLE, a model sharing many immunologic features with human SLE.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis
  • Calcitriol / therapeutic use*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Proteinuria / prevention & control


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Calcitriol
  • Calcium