Efficacy of a potent and safe vitamin D receptor agonist for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease

Immunol Lett. 2010 Jun 15;131(1):49-58. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2010.03.006. Epub 2010 Mar 27.


Deficiency in 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25D(3)) has been suggested as an important environmental factor for immuno-mediated disorders including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), comprising Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, both characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation. Administration of vitamin D receptor (VDR) agonists can ameliorate spontaneous and induced animal models of colitis, but hypercalcemia is a dose-limiting adverse event. Previous work in our laboratory has identified 1alpha,25(OH)(2)-16-ene-20-cyclopropyl-vitamin D(3) (BXL-62) as a potent anti-inflammatory VDR agonist with a low calcemic activity. In the present study, we confirm the marked anti-inflammatory properties of BXL-62 and show its capacity to induce VDR primary response genes, like CYP24A1 and CAMP, at lower concentrations than 1,25D(3), in PBMCs from IBD patients. Its higher anti-inflammatory potency compared to 1,25D(3) was demonstrated by the significantly more potent inhibition in PBMCs and in lymphocyte-enriched lamina propria mononuclear cells of the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-12/23p40, IL-6 and IFN-gamma, both at mRNA and protein level. The therapeutic efficacy of intra-rectal administration of BXL-62 in experimental IBD is shown by its beneficial effects, significantly higher than 1,25D(3), to induce recovery of clinical symptoms of colitis at normocalcemic doses in mice undergoing dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis. These results confirm the therapeutic efficacy of VDR agonists in experimental colitis, and suggest BXL-62 as a promising compound for IBD treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Calcitriol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Calcitriol / chemistry
  • Calcitriol / pharmacology
  • Calcitriol / therapeutic use*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy
  • Colon / drug effects
  • Colon / pathology
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ileum / drug effects
  • Ileum / pathology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane / drug effects
  • Mucous Membrane / pathology
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / agonists*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Calcitriol