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Researchers at Penn State University study how vitamin D regulates a host’s immunity to viral infections

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers at Pennsylvania State University can study whether vitamin D supplementation helps avoid or alleviate the symptoms caused by COVID-19.

Margherita Cantorna, a prominent professor of molecular immunology and nutrition at the University of Agricultural Sciences, is competing in the final year of existing NIH grants to support her research on how vitamin D regulates the gastrointestinal immune system. As part of the revision, we received about $ 241,000. tube.

Kantorna said the addition of two key collaborators to the university’s Faculty of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences will enable new research.

Patients with acute respiratory infections have been shown to be deficient in vitamin D, and vitamin D supplements are touted as useful at high doses to prevent seasonal influenza. Meanwhile, with the advent of SARS-CoV-2, there is interest in the potential of high-dose vitamin D supplements to prevent and treat serious pandemic-related diseases of COVID-19. “

Margherita Cantorna, a prominent professor of molecular immunology and nutrition, Pennsylvania State Agricultural Sciences

Cantorna’s research group shows that vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining gastrointestinal health. High levels of vitamin D reduce susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and intestinal and lung infections in animals and humans. However, too much vitamin D can be harmful.

Cantorna states that local and systemic inflammation caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection is not well understood and that controlling such inflammation may improve outcomes in COVID-19 patients. I did. Low vitamin D status is associated with acute respiratory illness, but studies have not confirmed a causal relationship.

“We still don’t fully understand the underlying mechanisms of the effects of vitamin D in the lungs and how vitamin D regulates the host’s immunity to viral infections,” she said. “These significant knowledge gaps have hampered the development of interventions and accurate messages, including vitamin D, for the treatment and prevention of respiratory illness.”

Cantorna’s team uses mouse and hamster models to test whether supplemental treatment with vitamin D limits viral replication and lung inflammation, leading to protection from severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. I will.

“We will determine the effectiveness, dosage and timing of vitamin D interventions in infected animals,” said Cantorna. “Since SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to infect the gastrointestinal tract, the benefits of vitamin D may include regulation of gastrointestinal immunity as well as lung immunity.”

She added that all work on the SARS-CoV-2 virus will be done at the Eva J. Pell Laboratory for Enhanced Biological Research, a state-of-the-art biosafety level 3 facility at Pennsylvania State University.

“In some cases, the most vulnerable people are said to need to take vitamin D supplements to protect them from COVID-19 without proof of efficacy or safety,” said Cantorna. .. “We hope that our findings can contribute to the development of responsible guidance on whether large amounts of vitamin D are safe and effective in alleviating this disease.

Researchers at Penn State University study how vitamin D regulates a host’s immunity to viral infections

Source link Researchers at Penn State University study how vitamin D regulates a host’s immunity to viral infections

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