Vitamin D and neonatal immune function

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2013 May;26(7):639-46. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2012.746304. Epub 2012 Dec 10.


Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in the neonatal and paediatric population of northern latitudes, particularly in children of African, Middle Eastern and Asian ethnicity. This is associated with diminished immune function and increases the risk of Th1 autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes. Epidermiological studies have also shown a link between vitamin D deficiency in children and a more severe course of illness with lower respiratory tract infection or Respiratory Syncitial Virus (RSV) bronchiolitis. The mechanism by which vitamin D enhances immunity is complex. It acts through the innate immune system by inducing antimicrobial peptides in epithelial cells, neutrophils and macrophages. The role of Vitamin D in neonatal and paediatric immunomodulation requires further study.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Child
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Infant, Newborn / immunology*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / immunology*


  • Vitamin D