The impact of vitamin D on regulatory T cells

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2011 Feb;11(1):29-36. doi: 10.1007/s11882-010-0161-8.


Epidemiologic studies highlight the increasing prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency and its association with an increased risk of autoimmune diseases and poor respiratory function, including asthma. These and additional studies have raised interest in the immunomodulatory properties of vitamin D beyond its well-established role in calcium homeostasis and bone health. Vitamin D has been shown to influence the function of cells intrinsic to innate and adaptive immunity. This review discusses recent evidence that vitamin D promotes--both directly and indirectly--regulatory or suppressor T-cell populations with the capacity to inhibit inappropriate immune responses that cause disease, suggesting that this property may in part underpin the epidemiologic findings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / immunology
  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Mice
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Vitamin D / immunology*


  • Vitamin D