role in other disease processes

Last edited 05/2022 and last reviewed 05/2022

The discovery of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol receptors in most cells of the body has focused attention on possible roles of vitamin D unrelated to calcium homeostasis. For instance, the muscle weakness and susceptibility to infection seen in vitamin D deficiency may be related to a regulatory role in skeletal muscle and the immune system, respectively (1).

1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol and a synthetic analogue, calcipotriol, have been found to suppress cell proliferation and to promote differentiation, and there is interest in their pharmacological use to control cell functions. Calcipotriol has proved useful in the topical treatment of psoriasis (2).

Epidemiological studies have linked vitamin D status, or exposure to sunlight, with such complicated and diverse disorders as cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. It is presumed that any such action of vitamin D is mediated directly rather than through its role in calcium homeostasis.