Effect of vitamin D supplementation on N-glycan branching and cellular immunophenotypes in MS

Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2020 Sep;7(9):1628-1641. doi: 10.1002/acn3.51148. Epub 2020 Aug 23.


Objective: To investigate the effect of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) supplementation on peripheral immune cell frequency and N-glycan branching in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

Methods: Exploratory analysis of high-dose (20 400 IU) and low-dose (400 IU) vitamin D3 supplementation taken every other day of an 18-month randomized controlled clinical trial including 38 RRMS patients on stable immunomodulatory therapy (NCT01440062). We investigated cholecalciferol treatment effects on N-glycan branching using L-PHA stain (phaseolus vulgaris leukoagglutinin) at 6 months and frequencies of T-, B-, and NK-cell subpopulations at 12 months with flow cytometry.

Results: High-dose supplementation did not change CD3+ T cell subsets, CD19+ B cells subsets, and NK cells frequencies, except for CD8+ T regulatory cells, which were reduced in the low-dose arm compared to the high-dose arm at 12 months. High-dose supplementation decreased N-glycan branching on T and NK cells, measured as L-PHA mean fluorescence intensity (MFI). A reduction of N-glycan branching in B cells was not significant. In contrast, low-dose supplementation did not affect N-glycan branching. Changes in N-glycan branching did not correlate with cell frequencies.

Interpretation: Immunomodulatory effect of vitamin D may involve regulation of N-glycan branching in vivo. Vitamin D3 supplementation did at large not affect the frequencies of peripheral immune cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects*
  • Cholecalciferol / administration & dosage
  • Cholecalciferol / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Polysaccharides
  • Cholecalciferol

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01440062

Grant support

This work was funded by European Commission (ERACOSYSMED ERA‐Net program). grant Sys4MS project,id:43; German Research Foundation grant DFG Exc 257; Einstein Foundation Berlin grant .