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Effect of high dose vitamin D intake on interleukin-17 levels in multiple sclerosis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Nafiseh Toghianifar, Fereshteh Ashtari, Sayyed Hamid Zarkesh-Esfahani, Marjan Mansourian

Journal of Neuroimmunology, Volume 285, 15 August 2015, Pages 125-128


  • We compared IL-17 levels before and after receiving high dose vitamin D in RRMS and control group.
  • High dose vitamin D was safe.
  • IL-17 levels showed significant change after 12 weeks in patients receiving high dose vitamin D.
  • Calcium and vitamin D serum levels were in the normal range after receiving high dose vitamin D.


Vitamin D has immunomodulatory effects in multiple sclerosis (MS). Vitamin D acts through various mechanisms such as secretion of cytokines. Interleukin-17 (IL-17) is a critical interleukin in inflammatory response in MS.


This study assessed the effect of oral high dose vitamin D intake on IL-17 levels in MS patients in a double blind randomized clinical trial.


94 patients with a diagnosis of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) were randomized to two groups. One group received 50,000 IU vitamin D3 every five days for 12 weeks. The other group was given placebo. Both groups received interferon-β (IFN-β) treatment. Serum levels of IL-17 were measured at the beginning of the study and after 12 weeks.


IL-17 serum levels were 56.75 ± 28.72 pg/ml and 30.31 ± 75.85 pg/ml in the intervention and placebo group at the beginning of the study, respectively (Median ± IQR, p = 0.338). After 12 weeks, IL-17 levels were 58.93 ± 67.93 pg/ml and 46.13 ± 94.70 pg/ml in the intervention and placebo group, respectively (Median ± IQR, p = 0.960). The multiple linear regression analysis indicated that the consumption of vitamin D3 was positively and significantly associated with the logarithm of IL-17 measures (β = 1.719; p = 0.002 and R2 = 0.91), adjusted by EDSS scores.


IL-17 levels showed significant change in RRMS patients after receiving high dose vitamin D3 for 12 weeks.

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

This online Resource Centre has been made possible by a donation from EMD Serono, Inc., a business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Note that EMD Serono, Inc., has no editorial control or influence over the content of this Resource Centre. The Resource Centre and all content therein are subject to an independent editorial review.

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supports promising translational research projects by academic researchers to improve understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) for the ultimate benefit of patients.  For full information and application details, please click here

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