Vitamin D and allergy susceptibility during gestation and early life

Daniela Briceno Noriega, Huub F.J. Savelkoul*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Worldwide, the prevalence of allergies in young children, but also vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy and in newborns is rising. Vitamin D modulates the development and activity of the immune system and a low vitamin D status during pregnancy and in early life might be associated with an increased risk to develop an allergy during early childhood. This review studies the effects of vitamin D during gestation and early life, on allergy susceptibility in infants. The bioactive form of vitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D, inhibits maturation and results in immature dendritic cells that cause a decreased differentiation of naive T cells into effector T cells. Nevertheless, the development of regulatory T cells and the production of interleukin-10 was increased. Consequently, a more tolerogenic immune response developed against antigens. Secondly, binding of 1,25(OH)2D to epithelial cells induces the expression of tight junction proteins resulting in enhanced epithelial barrier function. Thirdly, 1,25(OH)2D increased the expression of anti-microbial peptides by epithelial cells that also promoted the defense mechanism against pathogens, by preventing an invasive penetration of pathogens. Immune intervention by vitamin D supplementation can mitigate the disease burden from asthma and allergy. In conclusion, our review indicates that a sufficient vitamin D status during gestation and early life can lower the susceptibility to develop an allergy in infants although there remains a need for more causal evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1015
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2021


  • Allergy
  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Dendritic cells
  • Early life
  • Gut barrier
  • Immune system
  • Neonate
  • Respiratory infections
  • Treg
  • Vitamin D


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