The paradoxical effects of vitamin D on type 1 mediated immunity

Mol Aspects Med. 2008 Dec;29(6):369-75. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2008.04.004. Epub 2008 May 4.


Low vitamin D status is associated with an increased risk of Th1 mediated autoimmune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease. 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) treatments have been shown to suppress Th1 mediated immunity and protect animals from experimental autoimmunity. Th1 mediated immunity is important for clearance of a number of different infectious diseases. For tuberculosis 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) treatment is associated with decreased Th1 mediated immunity but increased bactericidal activity. Systemic candidiasis is unaffected by 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) treatment. The seemingly paradoxical effects of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) and vitamin D on Th1 mediated autoimmunity versus infectious immunity point to a broad array of vitamin D targets in the immune system. The interplay of these vitamin D targets and their impact on the host-immune response then dictate the outcome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*


  • Vitamin D
  • Steroid Hydroxylases