The main role of vitamin D is to control mineral homeostasis. However, recent studies suggested the existence of a number of extraskeletal effects. Among the latter, preclinical studies provided consistent data on the involvement of vitamin D in innate and adaptive immunity and autoimmunity. Molecular biology studies showed that both vitamin D receptor and vitamin D enzymatic complexes are expressed in a large number of cells and tissues unrelated to mineral homeostasis. In contrast, only a few randomized clinical trials in humans investigated the possible role of vitamin D in the prevention or treatment of immunological disorders. In this regard, low serum vitamin D levels have been reported in observational trials in human autoimmune disorders. The aim of the present paper was to review the potential implications of vitamin D in immune modulation, with special focus on thyroid autoimmune disorders.
Keywords: Autoimmunity; Graves’ diseases; Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; Vitamin D.