Vitamin D, neurosteroids and autism

Physiol Res. 2017 Sep 26;66(Suppl 3):S333-S340. doi: 10.33549/physiolres.933721.


Vitamin D had been for a long time investigated for its effects on bone metabolism. Recently has been observed that the incidence of some neurodevelopmental disorders (including autism) increases hand in hand with vitamin D deficiency. Indeed, vitamin D was reported to modulate the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors; moreover, its receptor was found in the central nervous system. Vitamin D deficiency was therefore assessed as a risk factor for autism, however the biological mechanism has not yet been revealed. In our review we focused on potential connections among vitamin D, steroids and autism. Potential mechanisms of vitamin D action are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder / drug therapy
  • Autistic Disorder / etiology
  • Autistic Disorder / metabolism*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / metabolism*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Vitamin D