Vitamin D, the renin-angiotensin system, and insulin resistance

Int Urol Nephrol. 2008;40(2):419-26. doi: 10.1007/s11255-007-9244-4.


Insulin resistance is characterized by the systemic impairment of insulin action and is usually the result of aging, obesity, chronic inflammation, or another factor that may contribute to the inhibition of the insulin signaling pathway. Insulin resistance is accompanied by defects in lipid metabolism and blood coagulation, hypertension, obesity, and vascular inflammation in a syndrome called syndrome X or metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is involved in the development of atherosclerosis with consequent cardiovascular complications including acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and vascular disease. Recent data have shown that vitamin D acts as a negative regulator of the renin gene and that vitamin D deficiency is followed by increased renin-angiotensin II expression. The link between the insulin signaling pathway/insulin resistance and the renin-angiotensin system has been well documented in previous studies. The present review focuses on disorders characterized by a reduction in vitamin D concentration or its receptor function and the development of insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, and discusses also possible therapeutic interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / epidemiology
  • Hyperparathyroidism / physiopathology
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Receptor, Insulin / physiology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology


  • Vitamin D
  • Receptor, Insulin