Vitamin D in defense of the human immune response

John S Adams, Philip T Liu, Rene Chun, Robert L Modlin, Martin Hewison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


Defensin is a generic name reserved for an endogenously synthesized antimicrobial agent. The purpose of this review is to describe a series of discoveries that led to the proposal that 25-hydroxylated metabolites of vitamin D are key, intracellular regulators of the synthesis and action of naturally occurring defensin molecules against bacterial antigens. The discussion will (1) highlight the basic elements of human immune response that is responsive to vitamin D, (2) recount work relevant to the extrarenal expression of the vitamin D-1-hydroxlase (CYP27b1) in the macrophage as an initiator of the innate immune response, and (3) describe recent work on the relevance of the vitamin D intracrine-autocrine-paracrine system in a model of a common and devastating human disease, tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 1-alpha-Hydroxylase
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Dendritic Cells
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages
  • Models, Biological
  • Tuberculosis
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamins


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