Vitamin D rejuvenates aging eyes by reducing inflammation, clearing amyloid beta and improving visual function

Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Oct;33(10):2382-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.12.002. Epub 2012 Jan 2.


Vitamin D(3) plays a key role in immune regulation and may protect against the aging process. A focal point for age-related changes is the outer retina of the eye where there is high metabolic demand resulting in a gradual increase in extracellular deposition, inflammation, and cell loss giving rise to visual decline. Here, we demonstrate that vitamin D(3) administration for only 6 weeks in aged mice significantly impacts on this aging process. Treated mice showed significant reductions in retinal inflammation and levels of amyloid beta (Aβ) accumulation, which is a hallmark of aging. They also had significant reductions in retinal macrophage numbers and marked shifts in their morphology. These changes were reflected in a significant improvement in visual function, revealing that vitamin D(3) is a route to avoiding the pace of age-related visual decline. Excess amyloid beta deposition and inflammation are risk factors leading to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the largest cause of blindness in those older than 50 years in developed countries. Recently, vitamin D(3) has been linked epidemiologically to protection against age-related macular degeneration. Hence, vitamin D(3) enrichment is likely to represent a beneficial route for those at risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cholecalciferol / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Retinitis / drug therapy*
  • Visual Perception / drug effects


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Cholecalciferol