• vitamin D;
  • asthma;
  • mice;
  • lymphocytes

To cite this article: Gorman S, Tan DHW, Lambert MJM, Scott NM, Judge MA, Hart PH. Vitamin D3 deficiency enhances allergen-induced lymphocyte responses in a mouse model of allergic airway disease. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2012: 23: 83–87


There is debate as to whether vitamin D deficiency contributes towards the extent of the asthma epidemic. In this study, using a mouse model, we determined whether vitamin D deficiency in utero and during early life modulated the severity of asthma. Using dietary restriction, vitamin D3-replete and vitamin D3-deficient colonies of BALB/c mice were established. Utilizing the allergic airway disease model of asthma with the experimental allergen ovalbumin (OVA), we examined asthma-like responses 24 h after airway challenge with OVA in adult offspring born to vitamin D3-replete and vitamin D3-deficient mothers. The ability of airway-draining lymph node cells to proliferate and secrete cytokines in response to OVA ex vivo was significantly enhanced by vitamin D3 deficiency. However, other aspects of allergic disease, including the numbers and proportions of inflammatory cells and cytokines in the lungs and the quantity of OVA-specific IgE in serum, were not modified. These results suggest that vitamin D3 deficiency modulates the capacity of lymphocytes to respond to allergens.