Objective: To review the advances of studies on vitamin D receptor and its role in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.
Data sources: A comprehensive search of the PubMed literatures without restriction on the publication date was carried out using keywords such as vitamin D receptor and diabetic nephropathy.
Study selection: Articles related to vitamin D receptor and diabetic nephropathy were selected and carefully analyzed.
Results: The ligands as well as construction and tissue distribution of vitamin D receptor were summarized. Pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy was analyzed. The mechanisms underlying the renoprotective role of vitamin D receptor including inhibition of renin-angiotensin system, anti-inflammation, anti-fibrosis and the reduction of proteinuria were reviewed. Mounting evidences from animal and clinical studies have suggested that vitamin D therapy has beneficial effects on the renal systems and the underlying renoprotective mechanisms of the vitamin D receptor-mediated signaling pathways is a hot research topic.
Conclusion: Our study suggests that vitamin D receptor has a great potential for preventing the progression of diabetic nephropathy via multiple mechanisms.