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Molecular basis of vitamin D action in neurodegeneration: the story of a team perspective

  • Duygu Gezen-AkEmail author
  • Erdinç Dursun
Short Review Article


Vitamin D, a secosteroid hormone, has, over the years, mainly been known for its classic role in the maintenance of calcium homeostasis of the human body. However, there is increasing understanding that vitamin D contributes to the regulation of Ca2+ homeostasis, especially via voltage-gated calcium channels, in another major organ that uses calcium, the brain. Almost 30 years ago, the role of dysregulation in the aging brain and in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) gave rise to the Ca2+ hypothesis of brain aging and dementia. We thus made calcium homeostasis the starting point of our studies, proposing the notion that the consequences of long-term deficiency and/or inefficient utilization of vitamin D may cause the disruption of calcium homeostasis in neurons, this creating a vulnerability of neurons to aging and neurodegeneration. In this mini-review, we aim to describe the potential of vitamin D (cholecalciferol) as a neurosteroid based on our findings and conclusions.


Neurodegeneration Vitamin D VDR Pdia3 Amyloid beta Alzheimer’s disease APP Secretase Plasma membrane 


Funding information

The reviewed studies performed in Istanbul University, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine Department of Medical Biology, are supported by the Research Fund of Istanbul University (Project No: 23448, 26645, 26263, 27781, 30666, 53653) and by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey-TUBITAK (Project No: 214S586, 214S585, 115S438, 217S375).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Hellenic Endocrine Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brain and Neurodegenerative Disorders Research Laboratory, Department of Medical Biology, Cerrahpasa Faculty of MedicineIstanbul University-CerrahpasaIstanbulTurkey

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