Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 217–226 | Cite as

The Implication of Vitamin D and Autoimmunity: a Comprehensive Review

  • Chen-Yen Yang
  • Patrick S. C. Leung
  • Iannis E. Adamopoulos
  • M. Eric GershwinEmail author


Historically, vitamin D has been associated with the regulation of bone metabolism. However, increasing evidence demonstrates a strong association between vitamin D signaling and many biological processes that regulate immune responses. The discovery of the vitamin D receptor in multiple immune cell lineages, such as monocytes, dendritic cells, and activated T cells credits vitamin D with a novel role in modulating immunological functions and its subsequent role in the development or prevention of autoimmune diseases. In this review we, discuss five major areas in vitamin D biology of high immunological significance: (1) the metabolism of vitamin D; (2) the significance of vitamin D receptor polymorphisms in autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and systemic lupus erythematosus; (3) vitamin D receptor transcriptional regulation of immune cell lineages, including Th1, Th17, Th2, regulatory T, and natural killer T cells; (4) the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency in patients with multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and systemic lupus erythematosus; and finally, (5) the therapeutic effects of vitamin D supplementation on disease severity and progression.


Vitamin D Autoimmunity Multiple sclerosis Type 1 diabetes mellitus Systemic lupus erythematosus 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chen-Yen Yang
    • 1
  • Patrick S. C. Leung
    • 1
  • Iannis E. Adamopoulos
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Eric Gershwin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical ImmunologyUniversity of California at Davis School of MedicineDavisUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Pediatric and Regenerative MedicineShriners Hospital for Northern CaliforniaSacramentoUSA

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