Immunomodulatory and Immunosuppressive Roles of 1α,25(OH)2D3 in Autoimmune Diseases

Scand J Immunol. 2017 Feb;85(2):95-103. doi: 10.1111/sji.12512.


Autoimmune diseases are pathological conditions characterized by abnormal responses, accompanied by autoantibodies to self-molecules. The role of vitamin D in autoimmune diseases has increased significantly in the recent past from its functions in calcium and phosphate homoeostasis, and it is now involved in the regulations and proliferations of Th1 and Th17 lymphocyte. 1α,25(OH)2D3 is very important in ameliorations of inflammatory disorders arising from autoimmune diseases, but the mechanism by which this is performed is still a bone of contentions. This review aimed to highlight the existing facts about the roles of Vitamin D in the treatment and management of autoimmune diseases. An extensive online literature search was conducted using PubMed, MEDLINE and Scopus. Accumulated bodies of research evidence are available which demonstrates that Vitamin D has a very important part to play in the regulation of immune responses in autoimmune diseases. Some of the authors suggested that Vitamin D3 carry-out its immunosuppressive and immune modulatory action, through its actions on antigen-presenting cells and activated T and B cells with the help of Vitamin D receptors present on the each of these cells. Vitamin D supplementation assists in autoimmune disorders by making qualitative and quantitative changes in the immune system (downregulation of Th1 and upregulations of Th2 cells). This resulted in the body to be more tolerant of self and less likely to mount autoimmune responses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Calcitriol / immunology*
  • Calcitriol / therapeutic use
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / immunology*
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / immunology*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Models, Immunological
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism
  • Vitamins / immunology*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Cytokines
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Vitamins
  • Calcitriol