Zinc, Vitamin D & Immune Response
The Importance of Zinc and Vitamin D
Vitamin D3 and zinc synergistically induce regulatory T cells and suppress interferon-γ production in mixed lymphocyte culture
Although vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and zinc are known to individually shift the immune response towards tolerance, little is known about the effect of their combined administration. This work contributes to understanding the combined action of zinc and vitamin D3 in different in vitro models for immune reactions.
Zinc and vitamin D3 in combination boosted the differentiation into Foxp3+CD4+ T cells (Treg). Vitamin D3 alone reduced the percentage of CD4+T-bet+ T cells (TH1).
In mixed lymphocyte culture (MLC), therapeutic concentrations of vitamin D3 and zinc in combination suppressed interferon-γ (IFN-γ) secretion more strongly than the single agent treatment. This effect was also detected for a combination of subtherapeutic concentrations of both vitamin D3 and zinc.
Vitamin D3, even at nanomolar concentrations, increased intracellular zinc levels. PBMC (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) of individuals at risk of zinc deficiency responded to vitamin D3 treatment with a higher mRNA expression of Zip13. In PBMC, both agents reduced activation-induced IL-17 secretion.
In summary, this study shows, for the first time, a vitamin D3-induced upregulation of CD4+Foxp3+ T cells in MLC.
The data propose a model where zinc augments the effect of vitamin D3 in certain therapeutic and subtherapeutic concentrations. Lower concentrations of both vitamin D3 and zinc could be used for effective treatment, thus reducing possible side effects from vitamin D3 and zinc. Vitamin D3 and zinc in combination may be a promising and cheap option to treat dysregulated immune responses in various conditions.