Vitamin D's role in cell proliferation and differentiation

Nutr Rev. 2008 Oct;66(10 Suppl 2):S116-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2008.00094.x.


Vitamin D has pleiotropic effects that go beyond its traditional role in calcium homeostasis. Hundreds of genes with vitamin D receptor response elements directly or indirectly influence cell cycling and proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Vitamin D compounds also have effects on cell function that are nongenomic. The noncalcemic actions of vitamin D influence normal and pathological cell growth, carcinogenesis, immune function, and cardiovascular physiology. This review examines many of the various mechanisms by which vitamin D alters cellular growth and differentiation and explores cell-specific factors that influence responsiveness to vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Vitamin D / physiology*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium