Vitamin D supplementation beneficial in SLE

November 23, 2011

Two new studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation is beneficial for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in that it modulates their T regulatory cells (Tregs), and that immunization with interferon-alpha-kinoid (IFN-alpha-K) is safe and shows positive results for such patients.

Chicago - Two new studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation is beneficial for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in that it modulates their T regulatory cells (Tregs), and that immunization with interferon-alpha-kinoid (IFN-alpha-K) is safe and shows positive results for such patients.

The studies were presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, held here earlier this month.

In the first study, a team of researchers led by Benjamin Terrier, M.D., of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, assessed the effects of vitamin D supplementation in SLE for 20 patients with hypovitaminosis D. Patients were assessed initially and at the second and sixth months. Supplementation was found to be safe - no hypercalcemia or lithiasis were in evidence - and it increased the percentage of both naive and active Tregs. Investigators also noted an increase in the expression of molecules associated with Treg suppression, according to HealthDay News.

In the second study, a research team led by Frédéric A. Houssiau, M.D., of Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium, assessed the safety and immunogenicity of 30, 60, 120 or 240 mg of intramuscular IFN-alpha-K in 28 patients with mild and moderate SLE. Investigators noted only a few minor local and systemic reactions, though lupus flares were seen in one patient in the treatment group (who stopped glucocorticoid therapy after the first IFN-alpha-K dose) and one in the placebo group. All immunized patients had a dose-related anti-IFN-alpha antibody response, with a peak after the final dose and decrease thereafter.

“This is the first study to show positive immune and pharmacodynamic results with active immunotherapy against interferon-alpha in the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus,” the second study’s authors wrote.

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