In a new study, researchers have found how vitamin D could influence the immune system and change people’s susceptibility to diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Edinburgh.
Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight and can provide many health benefits.
Previous research has found it also affects key cells of the immune system.
In the study, the team examined how vitamin D affects a mechanism in the body’s immune system — dendritic cells’ ability to activate T cells.
In healthy people, T cells play a crucial role in helping to fight infections. But In people with autoimmune diseases, they can start to attack the body’s own tissues.
The researchers tested cells from mice and people and found vitamin D could cause dendritic cells to produce more of a molecule called CD31.
This could hinder the activation of T cells and reduce immune reactions.
This finding shed light on how vitamin D deficiency may regulate the immune system and influence susceptibility to autoimmune diseases.
It also explains why low vitamin D status is a big risk factor for the development of several autoimmune diseases.
The team hopes the finding may help develop new methods to prevent the risk of the diseases.
One author of the study is Professor Richard Mellanby, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Inflammation Research.
The study is published in Frontiers in Immunology.
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