The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology

In vitro exposure of human blood mononuclear cells to active vitamin D does not induce substantial change to DNA methylation on a genome-scale.

PMID 24525112


It is well-established that vitamin D impacts gene regulation via vitamin D response elements (VDREs) across the genome. Recent evidence, primarily at a locus-specific level, suggests that alterations to DNA methylation may also be a relevant mechanism through which vitamin D regulates gene expression. Given the intense interest in vitamin D, particularly as an immune modifier, we sought to examine the impact of vitamin D exposure on the immune cell methylome in vitro. We exposed primary human blood mononuclear cells with up to 100nM calcitriol for up to 120h, and measured genome-scale DNA methylation response using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 beadchip array. We observed that, while the expression of known vitamin D responsive genes was clearly altered by calcitriol exposure, substantial genome-scale changes to DNA methylation were not induced. Our data suggests that, over the exposure period measured, changes to DNA methylation may not be a predominant mechanism through which vitamin D impacts gene expression in human immune cells.