Background: Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be independently associated with increased risk of viral acute respiratory infection (ARI) in a number of observational studies, and meta-analysis of clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation for prevention of ARI has demonstrated protective effects. Several cellular studies have investigated the effects of vitamin D metabolites on immune responses to respiratory viruses, but syntheses of these reports are lacking.
Scope: In this article, we review the literature reporting results of in vitro experiments investigating immunomodulatory actions of vitamin D metabolites in human respiratory epithelial cells infected with respiratory viruses.
Key findings: Vitamin D metabolites do not consistently influence replication or clearance of rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or influenza A virus in human respiratory epithelial cell culture, although they do modulate expression and secretion of type 1 interferon, chemokines including CXCL8 and CXCL10 and pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF and IL-6.
Future research: More studies are needed to clarify the effects of vitamin D metabolites on respiratory virus-induced expression of cell surface markers mediating viral entry and bacterial adhesion to respiratory epithelial cells.
Keywords: antiviral immunity; respiratory viruses; vitamin D.