Vitamin D elicits anti-inflammatory response, inhibits contractile-associated proteins, and modulates Toll-like receptors in human myometrial cells

Reprod Sci. 2013 Apr;20(4):463-75. doi: 10.1177/1933719112459225. Epub 2012 Sep 25.


Infection during pregnancy triggers inflammation, which can increase myometrial contractions and the risk of premature labor and delivery. In this study, we assessed the effects of vitamin D, an anti-inflammatory ligand on cytokines, chemokines, toll-like receptors, and contractile-associated proteins on immortalized human myometrial smooth muscle (UtSM) cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a bacterial endotoxin, or interleukin (IL)-1β and measured Toll-like receptor (TLR)-10 expression in pregnant myometrial tissues. A superarray analysis revealed downregulation of the chemokines monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, Chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand (CXCL)-10, CXCL-11, and chemokine (C-X3-C motif) ligand (CX3CL)-1; the proinflammatory cytokines IL-13 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α; the TLR-4 and -5 and triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-2 and upregulation of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, as well as Toll interacting protein (TOLLIP) and TREM-1 in vitamin D-treated UtSM cells. In the presence of LPS, vitamin D caused dose-dependent decreases in the messenger RNA expression of MCP-1, IL-1β, IL-13, TNF-α, TLR-4, and TLR-5, the contractile-associated proteins connexin 43, the oxytocin receptor, and the prostaglandin receptor but caused increases in IL-10 and TLR-10 in UtSM cells. The TLR-10 expression was higher in human myometrial tissue obtained from women at term not in labor compared to labor. Vitamin D also attenuated IL-1β-induced MCP-1, IL-6, connexin 43, cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, and prostaglandin receptor expression. Western analysis showed that vitamin D decreased MCP-1, TLR-4, and connexin 43 in the presence of LPS and decreased connexin 43 in the presence of IL-1β. Our results suggest that vitamin D can potentially decrease infection-induced increases in cytokines and contractile-associated proteins in the myometrium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Contractile Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Contractile Proteins / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Myometrium / cytology
  • Myometrium / drug effects
  • Myometrium / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Toll-Like Receptors / biosynthesis
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / physiology
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Contractile Proteins
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Vitamin D