Next Article in Journal
Inhibitory Effects of Helianthus tuberosus Ethanol Extract on Dermatophagoides farina body-induced Atopic Dermatitis Mouse Model and Human Keratinocytes
Previous Article in Journal
Longitudinal Association between n-3 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake and Depressive Symptoms: A Population-Based Cohort Study in Japan
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Immunomodulatory and Anti-Inflammatory Role of Polyphenols
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Nutrients 2018, 10(11), 1656;

Vitamin D: Nutrient, Hormone, and Immunomodulator

Department of Medical Science, Gerontology and Bone Metabolic Diseases, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 September 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 3 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diet and Immune Function)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1029 KB, uploaded 3 November 2018]   |  


The classical functions of vitamin D are to regulate calcium-phosphorus homeostasis and control bone metabolism. However, vitamin D deficiency has been reported in several chronic conditions associated with increased inflammation and deregulation of the immune system, such as diabetes, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. These observations, together with experimental studies, suggest a critical role for vitamin D in the modulation of immune function. This leads to the hypothesis of a disease-specific alteration of vitamin D metabolism and reinforces the role of vitamin D in maintaining a healthy immune system. Two key observations validate this important non-classical action of vitamin D: first, vitamin D receptor (VDR) is expressed by the majority of immune cells, including B and T lymphocytes, monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells; second, there is an active vitamin D metabolism by immune cells that is able to locally convert 25(OH)D3 into 1,25(OH)2D3, its active form. Vitamin D and VDR signaling together have a suppressive role on autoimmunity and an anti-inflammatory effect, promoting dendritic cell and regulatory T-cell differentiation and reducing T helper Th 17 cell response and inflammatory cytokines secretion. This review summarizes experimental data and clinical observations on the potential immunomodulating properties of vitamin D. View Full-Text
Keywords: vitamin D; immune system; gut microbiota; autoimmune diseases; T cells vitamin D; immune system; gut microbiota; autoimmune diseases; T cells

Figure 1

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).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Sassi, F.; Tamone, C.; D’Amelio, P. Vitamin D: Nutrient, Hormone, and Immunomodulator. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1656.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Nutrients EISSN 2072-6643 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top