Baillière's Best Practice & Research. Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism vol:25 issue:4 pages:617-632
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that is acquired via diet or synthesized in the skin upon UV exposure and needs subsequent hydroxylation steps to become activated as 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. While widely known for its role in maintaining bone health, vitamin D receptors have also been identified in different immune cell types. Many immune cells can also convert vitamin D into its bioactive form, thus enhancing the locally available concentrations to those required for the immunomodulatory effects of vitamin D. In this review, we summarize the genetic and epidemiologic data potentially linking vitamin D to autoimmune, infectious and allergic diseases. We also discuss how vitamin D influences the immune responses in each of those conditions based on the data generated using patient samples or preclinical models of each of these diseases. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.