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Molecules. 2018 Dec 24;24(1). pii: E53. doi: 10.3390/molecules24010053.

Immunomodulatory Effect of Vitamin D and Its Potential Role in the Prevention and Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus-A Narrative Review.

Author information

1
Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Science, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, ul. Chełmońskiego 37, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland. karolina.rak@upwr.edu.pl.
2
Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Science, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, ul. Chełmońskiego 37, 51-630 Wrocław, Poland. monika.bronkowska@upwr.edu.pl.

Abstract

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a chronic autoimmune disease associated with degeneration of pancreatic β-cells that results in an inability to produce insulin and the need for exogenous insulin administration. It is a significant global health problem as the incidence of this disorder is increasing worldwide. The causes are still poorly understood, although it certainly has genetic and environmental origins. Vitamin D formed profusely in the skin upon exposure to sunlight, as well as from dietary sources, exhibits an immunomodulatory effect based on gene transcription control. Indeed, vitamin D can downregulate mechanisms connected with adaptive immunity, induce immunological tolerance and decrease auto-aggression-related inflammation. These properties provide the basis for a preventive and therapeutic role of vitamin D. As many studies have demonstrated, appropriate supplementation with vitamin D reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes mellitus, and alleviates disease symptoms in patients. The aim of this narrative review is to present the molecular mechanisms for the vitamin D immunomodulatory effect as well as review human clinical studies on the use of vitamin D as adjuvant therapy in type 1 diabetes mellitus.

KEYWORDS:

calcitriol; immunomodulatory effect; type 1 diabetes mellitus; vitamin D

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