Biology and Mechanisms of Action of the Vitamin D Hormone

Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2017 Dec;46(4):815-843. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2017.07.001. Epub 2017 Sep 29.


The central role of hormonal 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] is to regulate calcium and phosphorus homeostasis via actions in intestine, kidney, and bone. These and other actions in many cell types not involved in mineral metabolism are mediated by the vitamin D receptor. Recent studies using genome-wide scale techniques have extended fundamental ideas regarding vitamin D-mediated control of gene expression while simultaneously revealing a series of new concepts. This article summarizes the current view of the biological actions of the vitamin D hormone and focuses on new concepts that drive the understanding of the mechanisms through which vitamin D operates.

Keywords: Calcemic hormones; Genetic linkage; Genome-wide principles; Mineral homeostasis; RANKL; Target genes; Transcription; Transient receptor potential vanilloid type-6 (TRPV6).

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Vitamin D / physiology*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcitriol
  • Calcium