Background: By modulating the antiviral immune response via vitamin D receptor, the active form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, calcitriol) could play a central role in protection against respiratory virus infections. This in vitro study tested the hypothesis that respiratory viruses modulate vitamin D receptor expression in human bronchial epithelial cells and this modulation affects the antiviral response to exogenous vitamin D.
Methods: Human primary bronchial epithelial cells were infected with rhinoviruses and respiratory syncytial virus in the presence or absence of vitamin D. Expression of vitamin D receptor, 1α-hydroxylase (1α(OH)ase), 24-hydroxylase (24(OH)ase), innate interferons, interferon stimulated genes and cathelicidin were measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The antiviral effect of vitamin D on rhinovirus replication was determined by measurement of virus load. A direct inactivation assay was used to determine the antiviral activity of cathelicidin.
Results: Both RV and RSV decreased vitamin D receptor and 24(OH)ase and, in addition, RSV increased 1α(OH)ase expression in epithelial cells. Vitamin D decreased rhinovirus replication and release, and increased rhinovirus-induced interferon stimulated genes and cathelicidin. Furthermore, cathelicidin had direct anti-rhinovirus activity.
Conclusions: Despite lower vitamin D receptor levels in rhinovirus-infected epithelial cells, exogenous vitamin D increased antiviral defences most likely via cathelicidin and innate interferon pathways.
Keywords: Cathelicidin; Interferons; Respiratory viruses.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.