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.