Vitamin D and tuberculosis in children: a role in the prevention or treatment of the disease?

Submitted: October 9, 2021
Accepted: March 24, 2022
Published: March 30, 2022
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Despite the growing number of published studies, the role of vitamin D in the prevention or treatment of tuberculosis remains unclear. In this review we analyze current scientific literature to provide evidence about the relationship between vitamin D and TB, with a special focus on the pediatric population. While in vitro studies have shown relevant antimycobacterial immune-stimulatory and immunosuppressive effects of vitamin D, this has not panned out in vivo with active TB. On the contrary, there is some evidence that this tool could work as prevention – both against TB infection as well as progression from latent to active infection. However, only a few studies have evaluated this correlation in children. The potential link between tuberculosis and vitamin D levels is promising. If effective, vitamin D supplementation of at-risk populations would be an affordable public health intervention, particularly in light of the worldwide increase in identified TB cases and drug-resistance. Vitamin D might represent a new, affordable, safe and easy to access drug for the prevention and treatment of TB. For stronger evidence, considering the features of infection (relative low incidence of reactivation of latent infection in immunocompetent patients) we need clinical trials with large numbers of participants conducted in endemic regions with a prolonged follow-up time.



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Danilo Buonsenso, Department of Woman and Child Health and Public Health, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “Agostino Gemelli”, Rome

Department of Basic Biotechnological Sciences, Intensive and Perioperative Clinics, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.
Center for Global Health Research and Studies, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.

How to Cite

Buonsenso, Danilo, Davide Pata, Arianna Turriziani Colonna, Vittoria Ferrari, Gilda Salerno, and Piero Valentini. 2022. “Vitamin D and Tuberculosis in Children: A Role in the Prevention or Treatment of the Disease?”. Monaldi Archives for Chest Disease 92 (4).