Vitamin D, disease and therapeutic opportunities

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2010 Dec;9(12):941-55. doi: 10.1038/nrd3318.


The discovery of the vitamin D endocrine system and a receptor for the hormonal form, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3), has brought a new understanding of the relationship between vitamin D and metabolic bone diseases, and has also established the functions of vitamin D beyond the skeleton. This has ushered in many investigations into the possible roles of vitamin D in autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disorders, infectious diseases, cancers and granuloma-forming diseases. This article presents an evaluation of the possible roles of vitamin D in these diseases. The potential of vitamin D-based therapies in treating diseases for which the evidence is most compelling is also discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D