, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 733-743
Date: 11 Apr 2014

Vitamin D Therapy in Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis Could be Limited by Opposing Effects of Sphingosine 1-Phosphate and Gelsolin Dysregulation

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Several studies support a protective effect of vitamin D on multiple sclerosis and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), but the mechanisms of these favorable effects are unclear. Our study demonstrates that sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is upregulated in the serum and spinal cords of EAE rats, but that vitamin D reverses the upregulation to alleviate inflammation. Vitamin D, however, cannot prevent the disease process, suggesting that other factors may be involved. To identify additional factors that might limit vitamin D efficacy, we assessed the effects of vitamin D on plasma gelsolin (pGSN), a regulator of S1P that is downregulated in the CSF of MS patients. Our results show that pGSN is downregulated in the serum of EAE rats, whereas its cellular form, cytoplasmic gelsolin (cGSN), is upregulated in the spinal cord of EAE rats. Importantly, vitamin D causes a downregulation of both pGSN and cGSN, which may counteract the positive effects of S1P decrease. Furthermore, 48 and 42 kDa caspase-3 cleavage products of cGSN are detected in EAE spinal cords, suggesting enhanced apoptotic activity, but these cleaved products undergo a similar decrease upon vitamin D treatment. To directly test the role of cGSN in the apoptotic process, we performed RNA interference in PC-12, a rat sympathetic nerve cell line. Results verify that cGSN suppresses apoptosis induced by TNF-α. Collectively, these results support a therapeutic effect of vitamin D that is derived from its ability to reduce S1P, but is limited by its simultaneous effect in reducing pGSN and cGSN. Based on these observations, we postulate that combined therapy with recombinant human pGSN and vitamin D may produce more beneficial effect in treating multiple sclerosis.