Shining Light on the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Vitamin D Receptor Checkpoint in Defense of Unregulated Wound Healing.
Cell Metab. 2020 11 3 ;32(5):704-709. Epub 2020 Sep 11. PMID: 32941797
Ronald M Evans
SARS-CoV-2 pneumonitis can quickly strike to incapacitate the lung, leading to severe disease and sometimes death. In this perspective, we suggest that vitamin D deficiency and the failure to activate the vitamin D receptor (VDR) can aggravate this respiratory syndrome by igniting a wounding response in stellate cells of the lung. The FDA-approved injectable vitamin D analog, paricalcitol, suppresses stellate cell-derived murine hepatic and pancreatic pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic changes. Therefore, we suggest a possible parallel program in the pulmonary stellate cells of COVID-19 patients and propose repurposing paricalcitol infusion therapy to restrain the COVID-19 cytokine storm. This proposed therapy could prove important to people of color who have higher COVID-19 mortality rates and lower vitamin D levels.