The Vitamin D Receptor Regulates Tissue Resident Macrophage Response to Injury

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Abstract

Ligand-dependent actions of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) play a pleiotropic role in the regulation of innate and adaptive immunity. The liganded VDR is required for recruitment of macrophages during the inflammatory phase of cutaneous wound healing. Although the number of macrophages in the granulation tissue 2 days after wounding is markedly reduced in VDR knockout (KO) compared with wild-type mice, VDR ablation does not alter macrophage polarization. Parabiosis studies demonstrate that circulatory chimerism with wild-type mice is unable to rescue the macrophage defect in the wounds of VDR KO mice and reveal that wound macrophages are of local origin, regardless of VDR status. Wound cytokine analyses demonstrated a decrease in macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) protein levels in VDR KO mice. Consistent with this, induction of M-CSF gene expression by TGFβ and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D was impaired in dermal fibroblasts isolated from VDR KO mice. Because M-CSF is important for macrophage self-renewal, studies were performed to evaluate the response of tissue resident macrophages to this cytokine. A decrease in M-CSF induced proliferation and cyclin D1 expression was observed in peritoneal resident macrophages isolated from VDR KO mice, suggesting an intrinsic macrophage abnormality. Consistent with this, wound-healing assays in mice with macrophage-specific VDR ablation demonstrate that a normal wound microenvironment cannot compensate for the absence of the VDR in macrophages and thus confirm a critical role for the macrophage VDR in the inflammatory response to injury.

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