Effect of vitamin D supplementation on cathelicidin, IFN-γ, IL-4 and Th1/Th2 transcription factors in young healthy females

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;68(3):338-43. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.268. Epub 2014 Jan 8.


Objectives: We assessed the effect of cholecalciferol and calcium supplementation on mRNA expression of cathelicidin (LL-37), Th1 and Th2 cytokines and their transcription factors in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in healthy females with vitamin D deficiency (VDD).

Subjects/methods: Subjects included 131 females with biochemical VDD randomized to receive (a) oral cholecalciferol (60,000 IU/week for 8 weeks followed by 60,000 IU/fortnight (b) calcium (elemental calcium 500 mg twice/day) (c), dual supplementation and (d) placebo for 6 months. The mRNA expression of cathelicidin, Th1 (IFN-γ) and Th2 (IL-4 and its antagonist-IL-4δ2) cytokines and their transcription factors (T-bet, STAT4, GATA-3, STAT6) were measured in the PBMC by real-time PCR before and after intervention.

Results: Cholecalciferol-supplemented groups showed significant rise of mean serum 25(OH)D (30.6 ± 7.51 and 28.6 ± 8.41 ng/ml). The expression of LL-37, IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-4δ2 and transcription factors were comparable in the four groups at baseline. Despite significant increase in mean serum 25(OH)D in the cholecalciferol-supplemented groups, their mean mRNA transcripts of LL-37, IFN-γ, IL-4, transcription factors and their IFN-γ/IL-4 and T-bet/GATA-3 ratios were similar to that of calcium and placebo groups.

Conclusions: Six months of cholecalciferol/calcium supplementation in young females with VDD do not lead to significant alteration in mRNA expression of LL-37, Th1/Th2 cytokines and their transcription factors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / genetics
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / metabolism*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Th1-Th2 Balance
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / genetics
  • Young Adult


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors
  • Vitamin D
  • CAP18 lipopolysaccharide-binding protein
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma