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17-03-2011 | Dermatology | Article

Vitamin D supplementation may reduce risks for keloid scarring


Free abstract

MedWire News: Dietary vitamin D supplementation could reduce risks of keloid scar formation by suppressing factors involved in tissue fibrosis, suggest findings from research on cultured keloid fibroblasts.

"Although clinical research has shown that vitamin D can inhibit the formation of skin fibrosis, eg, systemic sclerosis, the real role of vitamin D in skin remains largely unexplored," explain Guo-You Zhang (The 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical College, Zhejiang Province, China) and colleagues.

Zhang and team used cultured keloid fibroblasts to assess the effect of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (vitamin D) on the progression of tissue fibrosis. Cultured fibroblasts from normal skin were also tested for comparison purposes.

The researchers found that functional vitamin D receptors were present in both normal and keloid skin cells.

Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 is a well known profibrotic growth factor. When the keloid cells were exposed to TGF-β1, expression of the additional profibrotic factors collagen type I, fibronectin, and α-smooth muscle actin was increased. However, incubation of the TGF-β1 exposed cells with vitamin D led to significant suppression of these factors.

TGF-β1-stimulated expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and matrix metalloproteinase-9, which are involved in regulation of tissue fibrosis, also changed in response to vitamin D exposure.

In addition, the researchers demonstrated that vitamin D exposure reduced cell proliferation, which was confirmed by decreased expression levels of antiproliferating cell nuclear antigen in the keloid cell nuclei.

Zhang and co-workers suggest: "As 1,25D [vitamin D] seems to be potent in downregulating the extracellular matrix components in keloid fibroblasts and also in inhibiting the proliferation of these cells, it could be explored as a possible therapeutic agent in the treatment of keloid."

They add that further studies are needed, however, particularly a placebo controlled study of vitamin D supplementation, in order to confirm the validity of these effects in vivo.

The results of this study are published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Helen Albert