MECHANISMS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY: Vitamin D and COVID-19

Eur J Endocrinol. 2020 Nov;183(5):R133-R147. doi: 10.1530/EJE-20-0665.

Abstract

The SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic has generated an explosion of interest both in the mechanisms of infection leading to dissemination and expression of this disease, and in potential risk factors that may have a mechanistic basis for disease propagation or control. Vitamin D has emerged as a factor that may be involved in these two areas. The focus of this article is to apply our current understanding of vitamin D as a facilitator of immunocompetence both with regard to innate and adaptive immunity and to consider how this may relate to COVID-19 disease. There are also intriguing potential links to vitamin D as a factor in the cytokine storm that portends some of the most serious consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection, such as the acute respiratory distress syndrome. Moreover, cardiac and coagulopathic features of COVID-19 disease deserve attention as they may also be related to vitamin D. Finally, we review the current clinical data associating vitamin D with SARS-CoV-2 infection, a putative clinical link that at this time must still be considered hypothetical.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / immunology*
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / immunology
  • Autophagy / immunology
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Cytokine Release Syndrome / immunology*
  • Defensins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Immunocompetence / immunology*
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / immunology*

Substances

  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Defensins
  • Vitamin D
  • ropocamptide
  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D