Vitamin D as a Potential Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis: Where Are We?
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic demyelinating disease of the central nervous system and is caused by an aberrant immune response to myelin sheath. Disease-modifying medications, which mainly aim to suppress such aberrant immune response, have significantly improved MS treatment. However, the disease severity continues to worsen. In contrast, progressively more data suggest that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or 1,25(OH)2D, i.e., the active vitamin D, suppresses the differentiation of potentially
... ion of potentially pathogenic T cells associated with MS, enhances the differentiation of regulatory T cells that suppress the pathogenic T cells, and promotes remyelination. These novel 1,25(OH)2D functions have encouraged investigators to develop vitamin D as a potential therapy for MS. However, because of the hypercalcemia that is associated with high 1,25(OH)2D concentrations, supplementation of native vitamin D has been a major focus in clinical trials for the treatment of MS, but such trials have produced mixed data. In this article, we will review current progress in the supplementation of different vitamin D forms for the treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (i.e., an MS animal model) as well as MS. Furthermore, we will review alternative strategies that our laboratory and others are pursuing in an attempt to circumvent the hurdles that are hampering the effective use of vitamin D as a potential therapy for MS.