Vitamin D, muscle and bone: Integrating effects in development, aging and injury

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2015 Jul 15;410:3-10. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2015.03.020. Epub 2015 Mar 30.


Beyond the established effects of muscle loading on bone, a complex network of hormones and growth factors integrates these adjacent tissues. One such hormone, vitamin D, exerts broad-ranging effects in muscle and bone calcium handling, differentiation and development. Vitamin D also modulates muscle and bone-derived hormones, potentially facilitating cross-talk between these tissues. In the clinical setting, vitamin D deficiency or mutations of the vitamin D receptor result in generalized atrophy of muscle and bone, suggesting coordinated effects of vitamin D at these sites. In this review, we discuss emerging evidence that vitamin D exerts specific effects throughout the life of the musculoskeletal system - in development, aging and injury. From this holistic viewpoint, we offer new insights into an old debate: whether vitamin D's effects in the musculoskeletal system are direct via local VDR signals or indirect via its systemic effects in calcium and phosphate homeostasis.

Keywords: Bone; Muscle; Osteoporosis; Sarcopenia; Vitamin D; Vitamin D receptor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Bone Development
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries
  • Phosphates / metabolism
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*


  • Phosphates
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • VDR protein, human
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium