Vitamin D: more than a "bone-a-fide" hormone

Mol Endocrinol. 2003 May;17(5):777-91. doi: 10.1210/me.2002-0363. Epub 2003 Mar 13.


The vitamin D endocrine system is critical for the proper development and maintenance of mineral ion homeostasis and skeletal integrity. Beyond these classical roles, recent evidence suggests that the bioactive metabolite of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, functions in diverse physiological processes, such as hair follicle cycling, blood pressure regulation, and mammary gland development. This minireview explores the current progress in unraveling the complexities of the vitamin D endocrine system by focusing on four main areas of research: the resolution of the vitamin D receptor crystal structure, the molecular details of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3-mediated transcription, murine knockout models of key genes in the endocrine system, and alternative vitamin D receptors and ligands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cholestanetriol 26-Monooxygenase
  • Endocrine System / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / chemistry
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid / genetics
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid / metabolism
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / genetics
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / physiology*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Transcription Factors
  • Vitamin D
  • Steroid Hydroxylases
  • CYP27A1 protein, human
  • Cholestanetriol 26-Monooxygenase
  • Cyp27a1 protein, mouse
  • Calcitriol