The complex role of vitamin D in autoimmune diseases.Scand J Immunol 2008; 68(3):261-9SJ
Vitamin D, besides having well-known control functions of calcium and phosphorus metabolism, bone formation and mineralization, also has a role in the maintenance of immune-homeostasis. The immune-regulatory role of vitamin D affects both the innate and adaptive immune system contributing to the immune-tolerance of self-structures. Impaired vitamin D supply/regulation, amongst other factors, leads to the development of autoimmune processes in animal models of various autoimmune diseases. The administration of vitamin D in these animals leads to improvement of immune-mediated symptoms. Moreover, in human autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis the pathogenic role of vitamin D has been described. The review aims at describing the complex immune-regulatory role of vitamin D from the cellular level through autoimmune animal models and depicting the known contribution of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of human autoimmune diseases.