Vitamin D in systemic lupus erythematosus

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2008 Sep;20(5):532-7. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0b013e32830a991b.


Purpose of review: There is growing interest in the contribution of vitamin D deficiency to autoimmunity. It is therefore timely to review the immunologic actions of vitamin D and the evidence linking vitamin D deficiency to autoimmune disease in animal models and to systemic lupus erythematosus in epidemiologic studies.

Recent findings: A number of recent studies have highlighted the association between systemic lupus erythematosus and vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency skews the immunologic response towards loss of tolerance. Adding vitamin D in vitro reverses immunologic abnormalities characteristic of systemic lupus erythematosus.

Summary: Multiple systemic lupus erythematosus cohorts have low vitamin D levels. The physiologic and clinical consequences of vitamin D deficiency in systemic lupus erythematosus are not entirely known. Prospective studies of vitamin D in systemic lupus erythematosus are limited, but most cross-sectional studies show an inverse relationship between levels of vitamin D and disease activity. This suggests that repletion of vitamin D may have benefits beyond bone health for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / immunology*


  • Vitamin D