Winter cholecalciferol supplementation at 55°N has little effect on markers of innate immune defense in healthy children aged 4-8 years: A secondary analysis from a randomized controlled trial

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Hanne Hauger, Christian Ritz, Charlotte Mortensen, Christian Mølgaard, Stine Broeng Metzdorff, Hanne Frøkiær, Camilla Trab Damsgaard

Purpose: We explored the effect of winter cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) supplementation on innate immune markers in healthy Danish children (55°N).

Methods: In the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, ODIN Junior, 119 healthy, white, 4-8 year-olds were randomized to 0 (placebo), 10 or 20 µg/day of vitamin D3 for 20 weeks (October-March). Cheek mucosal swabs, blood samples, and questionnaires on acute respiratory infections the previous month were collected at baseline and endpoint. Innate immune markers were measured as secondary outcomes including in vivo oral mucosal gene expression of calprotectin (S100A9), lipocalin-2 (LCN2), beta-defensin-4 (DEFB4), interleukin-8 (IL-8), viperin (RSAD2), and the cathelicidin-antimicrobial-peptide (CAMP); ex vivo whole-blood lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cathelicidin, IL-8, and IL-6; and plasma cathelicidin, together with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D].

Results: Serum 25(OH)D was 56.7 ± 12.3 nmol/L at baseline and 31.1 ± 7.5, 61.8 ± 10.6, and 75.8 ± 11.5 nmol/L at endpoint after placebo, 10 and 20 µg/day of vitamin D3 (P < 0.0001), respectively. A decreased oral mucosal S100A9 expression with placebo [- 18 (95% CI - 1; - 32)%] was marginally avoided with 20 µg/day [6 (- 13; 28)%] (P = 0.06). Likewise, a decreased LPS-induced IL-8 with placebo [- 438 (95% CI - 693; - 184) ng/L] was marginally avoided with 20 µg/day [- 109 (- 374; 157) ng/L] (P = 0.07). All other immune markers and respiratory infection episodes were unaffected by vitamin D3 supplementation (all P > 0.11).

Conclusions: Winter vitamin D3 supplementation of 10 µg/day did not affect innate immune markers, whereas 20 µg/day tended to maintain the capacity to produce a few markers in healthy children.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1453-1462
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • The Faculty of Science - Randomized controlled trial, Vitamin D, Children, Innate immune function, Antimicrobial peptides, Cytokines

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