Calcitriol increases nitric oxide production and modulates microbicidal capacity against Mycobacterium bovis in bovine macrophages.
Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2018 Aug ;59:17-23. Epub 2018 Sep 11. PMID: 30290883
Bovine tuberculosis, a re-emerging infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis, can be transmitted to humans. Global prevalence of M. bovis in humans is underestimated and represents a serious public health risk in developing countries. In light of this situation, it is important to note that our understanding of the immunopathogenesis of human tuberculosis can be improved by studying this disease in the bovine model. Stimulation of the bovine innate immune system with calcitriol (1,25(OH)2D3) leads to an increase in bactericidal molecules involved in macrophage antimicrobial activity. It is unknown, however, if calcitriol´s effect on bovine macrophages impacts intracellular bacterial replication. With these considerations in mind, this study sought to investigate the specific role of calcitriol in tuberculosis control in bovine macrophages, in the hopes of uncovering information applicable to human tuberculosis. Assuch, infection with M. bovis was shown to induce expression of CYP27B1 and VDR genes in macrophages. Moreover, addition of 1,25(OH)2D3 to cultures of macrophages previously infected with mycobacteria and/or activated by LPS triggered cellular expression of nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) and increased nitrite concentrations, both indicators of nitric oxide (NO) production. By means of a microbicidal assay, addition of 1,25(OH)2D3 was seen to increase macrophage phagocytosis and to decrease mycobacterial intracellular replication. Thus, taken together, our results show that calcitriol can help stimulate the innate immune system of bovines by increasing phagocytosis and decreasing intracellular replication of microorganisms, such as M. bovis, in macrophages, through the VDR pathway.