Editorial: Immune-Modulatory Effects of Vitamin D
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Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone development. However, recent studies are beginning to uncover its role as a modulator of the immune system (1). Several reports have shown associations between vitamin D deficiency (2) and the incidence as well as the severity of chronic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease (3, 4), inflammatory bowel disease (5), asthma (6), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (7). Consistent with this, vitamin D supplementations have been shown to reduce the severity of and inflammation markers in chronic inflammatory diseases (8). At the molecular level, the hormonally active form of vitamin D (α1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3) regulates the expression of vitamin D responsive genes that can lead to differential regulation of signaling pathways in immune cells. For example, vitamin D positively regulates iron homeostasis and erythropoiesis via the iron-hepcidin-ferroportin axis (9). Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent world-wide including countries with abundance of sunshine (10). Singh et al. reviewed the causes of vitamin D deficiency where they dissected the complex impact of genetic predisposition, gut microbiota, and immune system. In this review, authors examined GWAS database (11) and listed genes variants with SNPs that associate with risk of vitamin D deficiency. These alleles are common in vitamin D receptor (VDR) and vitamin D binding protein (VDPB). Since gut microbiota plays a crucial role in nutrients and vitamins production, absorption and degradation, authors also highlighted the role of vitamin D metabolism and VDR is regulating host-gut microbiota interactions.
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