The biologically active form of vitamin D, 1,25(OH)(2)D(3), is a potent modulator of the immune system as well as a regulator of bone and mineral metabolism. Vitamin D-deficiency in infancy and vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms may be risk factors for insulin-dependent Diabetes mellitus (IDDM). 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) and its analogs significantly repress the development of insulitis and diabetes in the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse, a model of human IDDM. 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) may modulate IDDM disease pathogenesis by repression of type I cytokines, inhibition of dendritic cell maturation, and upregulation of regulatory T cells. The function of vitamin D as a genetic and environmental determining factor for IDDM, the protective role of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) and its analogs in a mouse model of IDDM, and the possible mechanisms by which this protection occurs will be reviewed.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.