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Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr. 2001;11(1-3):199-226.

Vitamin D control of osteoblast function and bone extracellular matrix mineralization.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Vitamin D is the major regulator of calcium homeostasis and protects the organism from calcium deficiency via effects on the intestine, kidney, parathyroid gland, and bone. Disturbances in the vitamin D endocrine system (e.g., vitamin D-dependent rickets type I and type II), result in profound effects on the mineralization of bone. Recent studies with vitamin D receptor knockout mice also show effects on bone. It is questioned whether vitamin D has a direct effect on bone formation and mineralization. In rickets and particular vitamin D receptor knockout mice, calcium supplementation restores bone mineralization. However, the vitamin D receptor is present in osteoblasts, and vitamin D affects the expression of various genes in osteoblasts. This review focuses on the role of vitamin D in the control of osteoblast function and discusses the current knowledge of the direct effects of vitamin D on mineralization. Moreover, the role of vitamin D metabolism and the mechanism of action of vitamin D and interaction with other hormones and factors are discussed.

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