Journal of Molecular Medicine

, Volume 88, Issue 5, pp 441–450 | Cite as

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

  • Diane L. Kamen
  • Vin TangprichaEmail author


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.


Vitamins Innate immunity Immunology 



Grant support: NIH K23-AR052364 (DK) “The Role of Vitamin D in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus”, NIH K23-AR054334 (VT) “Role of T-Cells in Post Menopausal Osteoporosis”, Emory University Research Committee (URC) Grant (VT)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, Department of MedicineMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipids, Department of MedicineEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Nutrition Health Sciences Program, Graduate Division of Biomedical and Biological SciencesEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Center for Clinical and Molecular NutritionEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  5. 5.AtlantaUSA

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