Aims: The ability of vitamin D (VitD) to modulate immune responses in the clinical setting of COVID-19 infection is not well investigated. This study aimed to evaluate the ability of VitD to attenuate inflammatory responses in patients with severe COVID-19. Materials and methods: Blood samples and nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from patients with severe COVID-19 who had been treated (20 patients), or not (25 patients), with VitD, during their stay in the intensive care unit. Western blotting was used to evaluate the expressions of STAT3, JNK and AKT signaling pathways and ELISA was used to measure levels of IL-6, IL-17, and IL-1β in blood of these patients. Key findings: Reduced levels of STAT3, JNK and AKT pathways and lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-6, IL-17, and IL-1β were observed in VitD treated patients (50,000 IU of cholecalciferol weekly for 3 weeks), and in vitro following treatment of poly I:C stimulated PBMCs with VitD (50 nM of calcitriol). Moreover, lower circulatory levels of these proinflammatory cytokines following treatment with VitD were associated with lower serum levels of COVID-19-related severity markers such as D-dimer and C-reactive proteins (P < 0.001) which in overall resulted in shorter length of ICU stay for VitD treated compared to untreated patients (18 days for VitD treated vs. 28 days for VitD untreated; P = 0.01). Significance: This study reveals that VitD plays immunomodulatory role during COVID-19 infection, which further emphasizes the importance of maintaining a normal level of this vitamin for the prevention of hyperinflammatory conditions associated with COVID-19.

Fuente: Life Sciences