Vitamin D and innate and adaptive immunity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


In the last 5 years there has been renewed interest in the health benefits of vitamin D. A central feature of this revival has been new information concerning the nonclassical effects of vitamin D. In particular, studies of the interaction between vitamin D and the immune system have highlighted the importance of localized conversion of precursor 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) to active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)(2)D) as a mechanism for maintaining antibacterial activity in humans. The clinical relevance of this has been endorsed by increasing evidence of suboptimal 25OHD status in populations across the globe. Collectively these observations support the hypothesis that vitamin D insufficiency may lead to dysregulation of human immune responses and may therefore be an underlying cause of infectious disease and immune disorders. The current review describes the key mechanisms associated with vitamin D metabolism and signaling for both innate immune (antimicrobial activity and antigen presentation) and adaptive immune (T and B lymphocyte function) responses. These include coordinated actions of the vitamin D-activating enzyme, 1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1), and the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in mediating intracrine and paracrine actions of vitamin D. Finally, the review will consider the role of immunomodulatory vitamin D in human health, with specific emphasis on infectious and autoimmune disease.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVitamins and the Immune System
EditorsGerald Litwack
Number of pages40
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-386960-9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameVitamins & Hormones
ISSN (Print)0083-6729
ISSN (Electronic)2162-2620

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Deficiency


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