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Scand J Immunol. 2008 Sep;68(3):261-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.2008.02127.x. Epub 2008 May 29.

The complex role of vitamin D in autoimmune diseases.

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Division of Clinical Immunology, 3rd Department of Medicine, Medical and Health Science Center, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary.


Vitamin D, besides having well-known control functions of calcium and phosphorus metabolism, bone formation and mineralization, also has a role in the maintenance of immune-homeostasis. The immune-regulatory role of vitamin D affects both the innate and adaptive immune system contributing to the immune-tolerance of self-structures. Impaired vitamin D supply/regulation, amongst other factors, leads to the development of autoimmune processes in animal models of various autoimmune diseases. The administration of vitamin D in these animals leads to improvement of immune-mediated symptoms. Moreover, in human autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis the pathogenic role of vitamin D has been described. The review aims at describing the complex immune-regulatory role of vitamin D from the cellular level through autoimmune animal models and depicting the known contribution of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of human autoimmune diseases.

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