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Non-Skeletal Activities of Vitamin D: From Physiology to Brain Pathology

Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, Clinical Molecular Medicine and Laboratory Medicine, Department of Biomedicine, Neuroscience and Advanced Diagnostics, University of Palermo, 90127 Palermo, Italy
Department and U.O.C. Laboratory Medicine, University Hospital “Paolo Giaccone” of Palermo, 90127 Palermo, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(7), 341;
Received: 14 June 2019 / Revised: 27 June 2019 / Accepted: 2 July 2019 / Published: 5 July 2019
PDF [278 KB, uploaded 5 July 2019]


Vitamin D is a secosteroid hormone regulating the expression of almost 900 genes, and it is involved in the regulation of calcium and phosphate metabolism, immune response, and brain development. Low blood vitamin D levels have been reported in patients affected by various diseases. Despite a large amount of literature data, there is uncertainty surrounding the role of vitamin D as a serum biomarker in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Indeed, the lack of internationally recognized 25(OH)D3 reference measurement procedures and standard materials in the past led to unstandardized serum total 25(OH)D3 results among research and clinical care laboratories. Thus, most of the literature studies reported unstandardized data, which are of little use and make it difficult to draw conclusions of the role of vitamin D in AD and PD. This review summarizes the extra-skeletal actions of vitamin D, focusing its role in immunomodulation and brain function, and reports the issue of lacking standardized literature data concerning the usefulness of vitamin D as a biomarker in AD and PD. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin D; immune system; brain function; 25(OH)D3; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease vitamin D; immune system; brain function; 25(OH)D3; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Bivona, G.; Agnello, L.; Bellia, C.; Iacolino, G.; Scazzone, C.; Lo Sasso, B.; Ciaccio, M. Non-Skeletal Activities of Vitamin D: From Physiology to Brain Pathology. Medicina 2019, 55, 341.

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