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Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 1995;103(4):219-27.

Defects in the synthesis and metabolism of vitamin D.

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  • 1Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory, Boston University Medical Center, MA 02118, USA.


It is now recognized that it is casual exposure to sunlight that provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement. During exposure to sunlight, the high energy ultraviolet B photons (290-315 mm) photolyzes cutaneous stores of 7-dehydrocholesterol to previtamin D3. Once formed, previtamin D3 undergoes a thermal isomerization that results in the formation of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is biologically inert and requires successive hydroxylations in the liver and kidney to form its biologically active hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. The major physiologic function of 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D3 is to maintain blood calcium in the normal range. It accomplishes this by increasing the efficiency of intestinal calcium absorption and mobilizing stem cells to become osteoclasts which, in turn, remove calcium from the bone. It is now recognized that there are a variety of calcium metabolic disorders that are related to defects in the synthesis and metabolism of vitamin D. Chronic granulomatous disorders are often associated with hypercalciuria and hypercalcemia. The mechanism by which this occurs is that activated macrophages within granulomatous tissue, in an unregulated manner, convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Besides its calcemic activity 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is a potent antiproliferative factor for cells and tissues that possess its vitamin D receptor. This has clinical utility in that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and its analogs have been successfully used for the treatment of the hyperproliferative skin disease psoriasis.

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