Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 Mar;10(3):175-86. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2013.262. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

Vitamin D and male reproduction.

Author information

  • 1University Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, Section 5064, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Vitamin D is a versatile signalling molecule with a well-established role in the regulation of calcium homeostasis and bone health. The spectrum of vitamin D target organs has expanded and the reproductive role of vitamin D is highlighted by expression of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and enzymes that metabolize vitamin D in testis, male reproductive tract and human spermatozoa. The expression levels of VDR and CYP24A1 in human spermatozoa serve as positive predictive markers of semen quality, and VDR mediates a nongenomic increase in intracellular calcium concentration that induces sperm motility. Interestingly, functional animal models show that vitamin D is important for estrogen signalling and sperm motility, while cross-sectional studies support the positive association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and sperm motility in both fertile and infertile men. Expression of VDR and enzymes that metabolize vitamin D in fetal testis indicates a yet unknown role during development, which may be extrapolated from invasive testicular germ cell tumours where 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D induces a mesodermal differentiation of the pluripotent testicular cancer cells. Taken together, vitamin D signalling has a positive effect on semen quality, increases estrogen responsiveness and differentiates germ cell tumours. Future studies are needed to determine when 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D acts in a paracrine manner and whether systemic changes, which are subject to pharmacological modulation, could influence male reproductive function.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Support Center