In a new study, researchers have discovered how vitamin D can affect our immune system and may help reduce symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
The finding may help develop new treatments for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Edinburgh.
Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight.
It can provide many health benefits. Recent research has shown that it could affect key cells of the immune system.
In the current study, the team focused on how vitamin D affects a mechanism in the body’s immune system: dendritic cells’ ability to activate T cells.
T cells play a crucial role in helping to fight infections in healthy people. But in people with autoimmune diseases, they can attack the body’s own tissues.
The researchers examined cells from mice and people, and they found vitamin D caused dendritic cells to produce more of a molecule called CD31 on their surface.
CD31 hindered the activation of T cells and prevented two cell types from making stable contact. This greatly reduces immune reactions.
The findings provide new information about how vitamin D affects the immune system and might influence susceptibility to diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
The team suggests that vitamin D deficiency may change the immune system and increase people’s risk of autoimmune diseases.
Future research may focus on the development of new treatments for diseases.
One author of the study is Professor Richard Mellanby.
The study is published in Frontiers in Immunology.
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