The Photochemistry and Photobiology of Vitamin D3

  • M. F. Holick
  • J. A. MacLaughlin
  • J. A. Parrish
  • R. R. Anderson
Part of the Photobiology book series (PB)


Some historians state that the disease rickets was reported to occur in humans as early as the second century A. D. (1, 2), but the disease was not considered a significant health problem until people began to congregate in the cities of Northern Europe during the Renaissance (1–4). In the mid-17th century, Whistler, DeBoot, and Glisson each independently recognized many of the major diagnostic signs of this disease and established rickets as a clinical entity. They noted that it was associated with deformities of the skeleton, particularly enlargement of the epiphyses at the joints of the long bones and the rib cage (rachitic rosary), enlargement of the head, bending of the spine, curvature of the thighs, and flabby and toneless legs that were usually unable to sustain the weight of the body (1, 3, 4). The incidence of this debilitating bone disease increased dramatically during the industrial revolution, especially in Northern Europe and North America, and, by the latter part of the 19th century, autopsy studies suggested that approximately 90% of the children raised in the crowded cities of these areas had the disease.


Stratum Corneum Monochromatic Radiation Stratum Granulosum Rachitic Rosary Malpighian Layer 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. F. Holick
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. A. MacLaughlin
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. A. Parrish
    • 3
  • R. R. Anderson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Vitamin D Laboratory and Endocrine UnitMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition and Food SciencesMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical SchoolMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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