Autophagy induction by vitamin D inhibits both Mycobacterium tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus type 1

Autophagy. 2012 Oct;8(10):1523-5. doi: 10.4161/auto.21154. Epub 2012 Aug 15.


Low vitamin D levels in human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV) infected persons are associated with more rapid disease progression and increased risk for Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. We report that physiological concentrations of 1α,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol (1,25D3), the active form of vitamin D, inhibits M. tuberculosis and HIV replication in co-infected macrophages through human cathelicidin microbial peptide-dependent autophagy that requires phagosomal maturation. These findings provide a biological explanation for the importance of vitamin D sufficiency in HIV and M. tuberculosis-infected persons, and provide new insights into novel approaches to prevent and treat HIV infection and related opportunistic infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / metabolism
  • Autophagy / drug effects*
  • Coinfection / microbiology
  • Coinfection / pathology
  • Coinfection / virology
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • HIV-1 / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / microbiology
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Macrophages / virology
  • Models, Biological
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / growth & development
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Vitamin D
  • ropocamptide