Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 88, Issue 5, pp 441–450

Vitamin D and molecular actions on the immune system: modulation of innate and autoimmunity


  • Diane L. Kamen
    • Division of Rheumatology, Department of MedicineMedical University of South Carolina
    • Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipids, Department of MedicineEmory University School of Medicine
    • Nutrition Health Sciences Program, Graduate Division of Biomedical and Biological SciencesEmory University
    • Center for Clinical and Molecular NutritionEmory University School of Medicine

DOI: 10.1007/s00109-010-0590-9

Cite this article as:
Kamen, D.L. & Tangpricha, V. J Mol Med (2010) 88: 441. doi:10.1007/s00109-010-0590-9


Vitamin D has received increased attention recently for its pleiotropic actions on many chronic diseases. The importance of vitamin D on the regulation of cells of the immune system has gained increased appreciation over the past decade with the discovery of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and key vitamin D metabolizing enzymes expressed by cells of the immune system. Animal studies, early epidemiologic and clinical studies have supported a potential role for vitamin D in maintaining immune system balance. The hormonal form of vitamin D up-regulates anti-microbial peptides, namely cathelicidin, to enhance clearance of bacteria at various barrier sites and in immune cells. Vitamin D modulates the adaptive immune system by direct effects on T cell activation and on the phenotype and function of antigen-presenting cells (APCs), particularly of DCs. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the molecular and clinical evidence for vitamin D as a modulator of the innate and adaptive immune system.


VitaminsInnate immunityImmunology

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© Springer-Verlag 2010