Strong neonatal immune responses facilitated by supplemental vitamin D during pregnancy may protect newborns against the development of asthma by improving respiratory health in early life, according to a research study published in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.

Researchers analyzed cord blood samples from neonates whose mothers had received daily vitamin D3 supplements during pregnancy.

Cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMCs) from these neonates showed increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines following activation with innate stimuli in vitro, and increased production of IL-17A in response to polyclonal T cell stimulation. Their CMBCs also produced greater amounts of IL-10 in response to dexamethasone treatment.

Vitamin D exposure during fetal development influences the immune system of the neonate, which can contribute to protection from asthma-related, including infectious, outcomes in early life, they concluded.