Vitamin D has been reported to activate macrophage microbicidal mechanisms by inducing the production of antimicrobial peptides and nitric oxide (NO), but conversely has been shown to contribute to a greater susceptibility to Leishmania amazonensis infection in mice. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the role of vitamin D during intracellular infection with L. amazonensis by examining its effect on macrophage oxidative mechanisms and parasite survival in vitro. Vitamins D2 and D3 significantly inhibited promastigote and amastigote growth in vitro. Vitamin D3 was not able to induce NO and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in uninfected macrophages or macrophages infected with L. amazonensis. In addition, vitamin D3 in combination with interferon (IFN)-γ did not enhance amastigote killing and in fact, significantly reduced NO and ROS production when compared with the effect of IFN-γ alone. In this study, we demonstrated that vitamin D directly reduces parasite growth in infected macrophages (approximately 50-60% at 50 μm) but this effect is independent of the activation of macrophage oxidative mechanisms. These findings will contribute to a better understanding of the role of vitamin D in cutaneous leishmaniasis.
- Leishmania amazonensis
- Vitamin D