20S-Hydroxyvitamin D3, a Secosteroid Produced in Humans, Is Anti-Inflammatory and Inhibits Murine Autoimmune Arthritis

Academic Article


  • The ability to use large doses of vitamin D3 (D3) to chronically treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is prohibitive due to its calcemic effect which can damage vital organs. Cytochrome P450scc (CYP11A1) is able to convert D3 into the noncalcemic analog 20S-hydroxyvitamin D3 [20S(OH)D3]. We demonstrate that 20S(OH)D3 markedly suppresses clinical signs of arthritis and joint damage in a mouse model of RA. Furthermore, treatment with 20S(OH)D3 reduces lymphocyte subsets such as CD4+ T cells and CD19+ B cells leading to a significant reduction in inflammatory cytokines. The ratio of T reg cells (CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T cells) to CD3+CD4+ T cells is increased while there is a decrease in critical complement-fixing anti-CII antibodies. Since pro-inflammatory cytokines and antibodies against type II collagen ordinarily lead to destruction of cartilage and bone, their decline explains why arthritis is attenuated by 20(OH) D3. These results provide a basis for further consideration of 20S(OH)D3 as a potential treatment for RA and other autoimmune disorders.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 27956400
  • Author List

  • Postlethwaite AE; Tuckey RC; Kim TK; Li W; Bhattacharya SK; Myers LK; Brand DD; Slominski AT
  • Volume

  • 12