Vitamin D, Effects on Brain Development, Adult Brain Function and the Links Between Low Levels of Vitamin D and Neuropsychiatric Disease

Front Neuroendocrinol. 2013 Jan;34(1):47-64. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2012.07.001. Epub 2012 Jul 11.

Abstract

Increasingly vitamin D deficiency is being associated with a number of psychiatric conditions. In particular for disorders with a developmental basis, such as autistic spectrum disorder and schizophrenia the neurobiological plausibility of this association is strengthened by the preclinical data indicating vitamin D deficiency in early life affects neuronal differentiation, axonal connectivity, dopamine ontogeny and brain structure and function. More recently epidemiological associations have been made between low vitamin D and psychiatric disorders not typically associated with abnormalities in brain development such as depression and Alzheimer's disease. Once again the preclinical findings revealing that vitamin D can regulate catecholamine levels and protect against specific Alzheimer-like pathology increase the plausibility of this link. In this review we have attempted to integrate this clinical epidemiology with potential vitamin D-mediated basic mechanisms. Throughout the review we have highlighted areas where we think future research should focus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging / psychology
  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Vitamin D / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / psychology*

Substances

  • Vitamin D