Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 35, Issue 12, pp 1395–1401 | Cite as

Protective effects of vitamin D against injury in intestinal epithelium

  • Carol Lee
  • Ethan Lau
  • Sinobol Chusilp
  • Rachel Filler
  • Bo Li
  • Haitao Zhu
  • Masaya Yamoto
  • Agostino PierroEmail author
Original Article



Vitamin D deficiency is associated with intestinal barrier dysfunction, which contributes to pathogenesis of acute intestinal injury in children. We aim to investigate the effects of vitamin D on intestinal injury in intestinal epithelial cells and organoids.


Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was used to induce injury in intestinal epithelial cells (IEC-18) and organoids, and the effect of vitamin D was assessed. Cell viability was measured and inflammation cytokines TNFα and IL-8 were quantified. FITC-dextran 4 kDa (FD4) permeability was measured using Transwell while tight junction markers were assessed by immunofluorescence staining in IEC-18 and intestinal organoids. Data were compared using one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post-test.


IEC-18 viability was decreased by LPS treatment, but was prevented by vitamin D. The upregulation of inflammation was inhibited by vitamin D, which also decreased epithelium permeability. Vitamin D restored tight junction ZO-1 and claudin 2. In addition, vitamin D decreased TNFα expression and prevented the disruption of ZO-1 in injured organoids.


Vitamin D rescued epithelial barrier function by improving permeability and restoring tight junctions, leading to decrease inflammation. This study confirms the protective effects of vitamin D, which could be used as a treatment strategy for infants at risk of developing intestinal injury.


Vitamin D Intestinal epithelial cells Permeability Organoids 



This work is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation Grant 353857. AP is the Robert M. Filler Chair of Surgery, The Hospital for Sick Children (HSC).

Author contributions

CL: Conception and design, Collection and/or assembly of data, Data analysis and interpretation, Manuscript writing, Final approval of manuscript. EL, SC, RF, BL, HZ, MY: Collection and/or assembly of data, Data analysis and interpretation, Final approval of manuscript. AP: Conception and design, Financial support, Final approval of manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Lee
    • 1
  • Ethan Lau
    • 1
  • Sinobol Chusilp
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rachel Filler
    • 1
  • Bo Li
    • 1
  • Haitao Zhu
    • 1
  • Masaya Yamoto
    • 1
  • Agostino Pierro
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of General and Thoracic Surgery, Translational Medicine Program, Hospital for Sick ChildrenUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of MedicineKhon Kaen UniversityKhon KaenThailand

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