Review Article

American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 1-14

First online:

Vitamin D and the Cardiovascular System: An Overview of the Recent Literature

  • Piergiorgio MessaAffiliated withNephrology, Dialysis and Renal Transplant Unit, IRCCS-Fondazione Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore-Policlinico Email author 
  • , Manuela CurreriAffiliated withNephrology, Dialysis and Renal Transplant Unit, IRCCS-Fondazione Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore-Policlinico
  • , Anna RegaliaAffiliated withNephrology, Dialysis and Renal Transplant Unit, IRCCS-Fondazione Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore-Policlinico
  • , Carlo Maria AlfieriAffiliated withNephrology, Dialysis and Renal Transplant Unit, IRCCS-Fondazione Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore-Policlinico

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Abstract

Since the discovery that the enzyme catalyzing the synthesis of the most active natural vitamin D metabolite (calcitriol) and the vitamin D-specific receptor (VDR) were expressed in a wide range of tissues and organs, not only involved in the mineral metabolism (MM), there has been increasing interest on the putative ‘non classical’ roles of vitamin D metabolites, particularly on their possible effects on the cardiovascular (CV) system. These hypothetical CV effects of vitamin D gained particular interest in the nephrology field, given the high prevalence of CV disease in patients affected by either acute or chronic kidney diseases. However, notwithstanding a huge amount of experimental data suggesting a possible protective role of vitamin D on the CV system, the conclusions of two recent meta-analyses from the Cochrane group and a recent statement from the Institute of Medicine, based on a complete revision of the available data, concluded that there is no clear evidence for a role of vitamin D other than that strictly associated with bone health. However, a continuous and increasing flow of new studies still continues to add information on this topic. In the present review, we have tried to critically address the data added on this topic in the last 2 years, considering separately the experimental, observational, and intervention studies that have appeared in PubMed in the last 2 years, discussing the data providing proof, pro or contra, the involvement of vitamin D in CV disease, both in the absence or presence of kidney function impairment.