Vitamin D May Help Prevent Skin Infection in Atopic Dermatitis

Oral Vitamin D may correct an immune system defect and boost the defense against skin infection in individuals who have atopic dermatitis, according to a preliminary study from the UCSD Division of Dermatology.
Patients with atopic dermatitis have an immune system defect that results in a deficiency of cathelicidin, one of the body’s own anti-infection peptides.

Dr. Richard Gallo, Dr. Tissa R. Hata, and colleagues have found cathelicidin levels increase in patients who receive daily Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).

The study is part of the Dermatology Division’s ongoing investigation of the role of the immune system in dermatologic disease.

Ten to twenty percent of children and 1-3% of adults suffer from atopic dermatitis, a chronic skin disorder that causes itching, redness, and scaling. Affected individuals are more vulnerable to skin infections including Staph aureus and herpes.

Richard L. Gallo, M.D., Ph.D.
Richard L. Gallo, M.D., Ph.D.
Photo by Joyce Roberts.


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Health Sciences Communications


Richard Gallo, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor and Chief of Dermatology at UCSD and Chief of the Dermatology Section at the Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS).

Tissa R. Hata, M.D., is Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Clinical Service Chief for Dermatology at the Perlman Ambulatory Care Center, and Director of the UCSD Dermatology Clinical Trials Unit.

Other Division of Dermatology co-authors are Paul Kotol, B.S., Michelle Jackson, M.D., Meggie Nguyen, B.S., Aimee Paik, M.D., Don Udall, M.D., Kimi Kanada, B.S., Kenshi Yamasaki, M.D., Ph.D., and Doru Alexandrescu, M.D.

Their report is published in the October 3 issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology:

Hata TR, Kotol P, Jackson M, Nguyen M, Paik A, Udall D, Kanada K, Yamasaki K, Alexandrescu D, Gallo RL. Administration of oral vitamin D induces cathelicidin production in atopic individuals. J Clin Allergy Immunol 2008; 122(4): 829-831.

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