More Vitamin D validation

If this is a duplicate of something on the site, please let me know and I'll remove it. Found this in Lab News Daily today...

Vitamin D Fights MS

August 17, 2011

While for years scientists have noted an association between levels of vitamin D in a person’s body and the person’s ability to resist or minimize the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS), the mechanism involved has not been established. However new research by Sylvia Christakos, of UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School (principal investigator) Sneha Joshi (first author), and colleagues (including co-investigator Lawrence Steinman, of Stanford Univ.) appears to have uncovered that process. The study, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology, finds that vitamin D directly terminates the production of a disease-causing protein.

During MS (“EAE” in mice), a damaging protein called interleukin-17 (IL-17) is produced by immune cells in the brain. The investigators, a collaborative team of scientists from the Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Stanford Univ., find that after vitamin D binds to its receptor, the receptor parks itself on the gene that encodes IL-17. By doing so, the receptor occupies a site normally reserved for a protein called NFAT, which is required to turn the gene on. The gene stays off and IL-17 levels plummet.

At the same time, the vitamin D receptor turns on another gene, whose product generates suppressive T cells that combat the destructive action of their IL-17-producing counterparts.

According to the researchers, the mechanism they identify suggests what might be a new path toward pharmaceutical treatment of MS, as well as therapies for other autoimmune diseases that might include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, eczema and psoriasis.

Source: Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey