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Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 2000 Mar;223(3):230-3.

Vitamin D and autoimmunity: is vitamin D status an environmental factor affecting autoimmune disease prevalence?

Author information

1
Department of Nutrition, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA. mxc69@psu.edu

Abstract

The environment in which the encounter of antigen with the immune system occurs determines whether tolerance, infectious immunity, or autoimmunity results. Geographical areas with low supplies of vitamin D (for example Scandinavia) correlate with regions with high incidences of multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and diabetes. The active form of vitamin D has been shown to suppress the development of autoimmunity in experimental animal models. Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency increases the severity of at least experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (mouse multiple sclerosis). Targets for vitamin D in the immune system have been identified, and the mechanisms of vitamin D-mediated immunoregulation are beginning to be understood. This review discusses the possibility that vitamin D status is an environmental factor, which by shaping the immune system affects the prevalence rate for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and juvenile diabetes.

PMID:
10719834
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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