Pr. Mailhot is a Registered Dietitian, a Full Professor in the Department of Nutrition at University of Montreal and a researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. She conducts basic and clinical research primarily focused on vitamin D and chronic diseases with a strong inflammatory component (i.e. cystic fibrosis (CF), asthma, sickle cell disease) along a translational continuum from the study of basic mechanisms to clinical practice and back to basic. Other research interests include nutritional challenges in lung transplant candidates and recipients and cystic fibrosis comorbidities, particularly bone disease and diabetes.
Largely known for its role in the regulation of calcium and phosphate homeostasis, increased attention has emerged towards the immune-boosting effects of vitamin D. Molecular data support a role for vitamin D in modulating innate immune responses against pathogens, autoimmunity and inflammatory processes that underlie allergic responses and other chronic inflammatory disorders. Those findings are further strengthened by observational studies linking lower vitamin D status to higher rates of some immune-related conditions in pediatric populations. Several trials testing the prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in children with immune-related disorders are ongoing. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of the evidence linking vitamin D to the immune function of infants and children, from basic science to clinical applications with a focus on allergies, autoimmune conditions and infections.