Vitamin D may treat or prevent allergic reactions to common mould amongst asthmatics and cystic fibrosis sufferers 

Aspergillus fumigatus, is a very common environmental mould which, despite the fact that it is inhaled by most people, rarely causes an allergic reaction, except amongst asthmatics and those suffering from Cystic Fibrosis, up to 15% of whom develop a severe allergic response called Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA).

To gain and insight into what factors caused this group to react to the mould researchers from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center studied two groups of patients with CF. Both groups were colonized with A. Fumigatus, but only one had ABPA. They found that a lower average blood level of Vitamin D appeared to be criticakl in the mechanism driving the allergic responses to A. fumigatus. Adding Vitamin D ‘not only substantially reduced the production of the protein driving an allergic response, but it also increased production of the proteins that promote tolerance’ according to Dr Jay Kolls, Professor and Chair of Genetics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

The researchers now want to conduct a clinical trial to see if vitamin D can be used to treat or prevent ABPS amongst asthmatics and Cystic Fibrosis sufferers.

James L. Kreindler et al. Vitamin D3 attenuates Th2 responses to Aspergillus fumigatus mounted by CD4+ T cells from cystic fibrosis patients with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2010


First Published in August 2010

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