Vitamin D receptor and STAT6 interactome governs oesophageal epithelial barrier responses to IL-13 signalling

Michael Brusilovsky, Mark Rochman, Tetsuo Shoda, Michael Kotliar, Julie M. Caldwell, Lydia E. Mack, John A. Besse, Xiaoting Chen, Matthew T. Weirauch, Artem Barski, Marc E. Rothenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective The contribution of vitamin D (VD) deficiency to the pathogenesis of allergic diseases remains elusive. We aimed to define the impact of VD on oesophageal allergic inflammation. Design We assessed the genomic distribution and function of VD receptor (VDR) and STAT6 using histology, molecular imaging, motif discovery and metagenomic analysis. We examined the role of VD supplementation in oesophageal epithelial cells, in a preclinical model of IL-13-induced oesophageal allergic inflammation and in human subjects with eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE). Results VDR response elements were enriched in oesophageal epithelium, suggesting enhanced VDR binding to functional gene enhancer and promoter regions. Metagenomic analysis showed that VD supplementation reversed dysregulation of up to 70% of the transcriptome and epigenetic modifications (H3K27Ac) induced by IL-13 in VD-deficient cells, including genes encoding the transcription factors HIF1A and SMAD3, endopeptidases (SERPINB3) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition mediators (TGFBR1, TIAM1, SRC, ROBO1, CDH1). Molecular imaging and chromatin immunoprecipitation showed VDR and STAT6 colocalisation within the regulatory regions of the affected genes, suggesting that VDR and STAT6 interactome governs epithelial tissue responses to IL-13 signalling. Indeed, VD supplementation reversed IL-13-induced epithelial hyperproliferation, reduced dilated intercellular spaces and barrier permeability, and improved differentiation marker expression (filaggrin, involucrin). In a preclinical model of IL-13-mediated oesophageal allergic inflammation and in human EoE, VD levels inversely associated with severity of oesophageal eosinophilia and epithelial histopathology. Conclusions Collectively, these findings identify VD as a natural IL-13 antagonist with capacity to regulate the oesophageal epithelial barrier functions, providing a novel therapeutic entry point for type 2 immunity-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-845
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2023
Externally publishedYes



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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