Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 21 : Maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D in body may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, suggests a recent study.
Researchers from the University College London and the University Of Birmingham in Edgbaston, United Kingdom found that while vitamin D can be effective at preventing the onset of inflammation and it is less effective once inflammatory disease is established because diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis leads to vitamin D insensitivity.
They also found that the impact of vitamin D on inflammatory disease cannot be predicted using cells from healthy individuals or even from the blood of patients with inflammation as cells from the disease tissue are very different.
The researchers concluded that if vitamin D is to be used in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, clinicians may need to prescribe much higher doses than currently employed or provide a treatment that also corrects the vitamin D insensitivity of immune cells within the joint.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are frequently vitamin D deficient and may receive vitamin D supplementation.
The study involved using paired peripheral blood and synovial fluid from the inflamed joint of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Professor Martin Hewison said that the current understanding of vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis is based on studies of patient blood, which may not truly represent the situation at the site of inflammation - the joints.
They investigated responses to the active form of vitamin D in immune cells from the inflamed joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
They explained that this appears to be because immune cells from the joints of rheumatoid arthritis patients are more committed to inflammation and therefore less likely to change, even though they have all the machinery to respond to vitamin D.
Dr Louisa Jeffery also said that maintaining sufficient vitamin D may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
The research is published in the Journal of Autoimmunity.