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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Vin Tangpricha.

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Kamen, D.L., Tangpricha, V. Vitamin D and molecular actions on the immune system: modulation of innate and autoimmunity. J Mol Med 88, 441–450 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00109-010-0590-9

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Keywords

  • Vitamins
  • Innate immunity
  • Immunology