Vitamin D – a new treatment for airway remodelling in asthma?

Authors

  • Rachel L Clifford,

    1. Nottingham Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Centre for Respiratory Research, University of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham, UK
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  • Alan J Knox

    Corresponding author
    1. Nottingham Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Centre for Respiratory Research, University of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham, UK
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Alan J Knox, Nottingham Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Centre for Respiratory Research, University of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK. E-mail: alan.knox@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

Increased airway smooth muscle (ASM) mass plays a critical role in chronic asthmatic airway remodelling. ASM cell hypertrophy and hyperplasia are likely to contribute to increased ASM mass and a variety of mitogens induce ASM proliferation in cell culture. Recent recognition of widespread vitamin D deficiency and identification of the vitamin D receptor on many cells has implicated vitamin D as a potential therapeutic target for many disorders including cancer, infection and asthma. In this issue of British Journal of Pharmacology, Damera et al. show that calcitriol, a secosteroidal modulator of vitamin D receptors, inhibited thrombin and platelet-derived growth factor-induced ASM cell proliferation. They also, perhaps surprisingly, show the glucocorticoid dexamethasone to potentiate mitogen-induced ASM proliferation. Their results begin to elucidate the molecular mechanism(s) utilized by calcitriol to inhibit cell proliferation and suggest hyperphosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein and activation of checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) as critical to this process. This study identifies inhibition of ASM proliferation as a cellular effect of vitamin D and supports the hypothesis that vitamin D is a potential treatment for airway remodelling in asthma.

This is a Commentary on the Research Paper in this issue by Damera et al. (pp. 1429–1441). To view this article visit http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121548564/issueyear?year=2009

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