Journal Of Neuroimmunology
Microglial cell activation is the earliest biomarker of the inflammatory processes that cause central nervous system (CNS) lesions in multiple sclerosis. We hypothesized that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-(OH)2D3) production by activated microglia and macrophages in the CNS inhibits these inflammatory processes. To test this hypothesis, we targeted the Cyp27b1 gene specifically in myeloid cells, then analyzed the influence of disrupted myeloid cell 1,25-(OH)2D3 synthesis on vitamin D3-mediated resistance to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Myeloid cell 1,25-(OH)2D3 synthesis was essential for vitamin D3-mediated EAE resistance. Increased CTLA-4 expression in the CNS-infiltrating CD4+ Tconv and Treg cells and decreased splenic B cell CD86 expression correlated with resistance. These new data provide solid support for the view that vitamin D3 reduces MS risk in part through a mechanism involving myeloid cell 1,25-(OH)2D3 production and CTLA-4 upregulation in CNS-infiltrating CD4+ T cells. We suggest that CTLA-4 serves as a vitamin D3-regulated immunological checkpoint in multiple sclerosis prevention. Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.