Research Identifies Vitamin D Function In Combating MS

Scientists and researchers have known for years about the link between vitamin D and MS. But what they don’t know is that how exactly the said vitamin works in trying to prevent multiple sclerosis. They do not have any idea about the underlying mechanism that may be involved. A recent research may now help them understand better.

A breakthrough research done by a collaborative team of researchers from UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and Stanford University may show just how vitamin D may be able to minimize the effects of multiple sclerosis. The findings may help scientists further explore a new possible path in treating The researchers have published their report on the September issue of September issue of the Molecular and Cellular Biology journal.

The team of researchers, led by Sylvia Christakos, PhD, a professor at UMDNJ, have discovered that vitamin D may directly be terminating the production of a type of protein that may be causing MS. In a study involving a mice model of MS, the researchers have observed that a damaging protein called interleukin-17 is being produced by the immune cells in the brain. The researchers have discovered that

after vitamin D binds to its receptor, it parks itself into the gene responsible for encoding IL-17. Through this action, the said receptor now occupies the site where a protein called NFAT usually attaches to. The NFAT protein is required to turn the gene on into making IL-17. In this case the gene stays off and IL-17 levels in the body is reduced.

In addition to this function, the vitamin D receptor also turns on another gene, which produces a protein that generates suppressive T cells that counteract the destructive action of the IL-17 producing gene. According to the researchers, this new discovery may help scientists further explore a new path in treating MS as well as other therapies that may also help treat other similar autoimmune diseases.


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