Vitamin D Status Impacts Genital Mucosal Immunity and Markers of HIV-1 Susceptibility in Women

Nutrients. 2020 Oct 17;12(10):3176. doi: 10.3390/nu12103176.


While vitamin D insufficiency is known to impact a multitude of health outcomes, including HIV-1, little is known about the role of vitamin D-mediated immune regulation in the female reproductive tract (FRT). We performed a pilot clinical study of 20 women with circulating 25(OH)D levels <62.5 nmol/L. Participants were randomized into either weekly or daily high-dose oral vitamin D supplementation groups. In addition to serum vitamin D levels, genital mucosal endpoints, including soluble mediators, immune cell populations, gene expression, and ex vivo HIV-1 infection, were assessed. While systemic vitamin D levels showed a significant increase following supplementation, these changes translated into modest effects on the cervicovaginal factors studied. Paradoxically, post-supplementation vitamin D levels were decreased in cervicovaginal fluids. Given the strong correlation between vitamin D status and HIV-1 infection and the widespread nature of vitamin D deficiency, further understanding of the role of vitamin D immunoregulation in the female reproductive tract is important.

Keywords: HIV-1 susceptibility; immune regulation; vitamin D supplementation.

MeSH terms

  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D 2 / blood
  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology*
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane / cytology
  • Mucous Membrane / immunology*
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin D / physiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / immunology*
  • Young Adult


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D 2