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Vitamin D and lung disease
  1. Paul E Pfeffer,
  2. Catherine M Hawrylowicz
  1. MRC and Asthma-UK Centre for Allergic Mechanisms in Asthma, King's College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catherine M Hawrylowicz, Department of Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory Science, 5th Floor Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, King's College London, London SE1 9RT, UK; catherine.hawrylowicz{at}


The classic role of vitamin D in the regulation of calcium and phosphate metabolism, and its effects on bone health, are well established. More recently a critical role in immunity and respiratory health has been proposed. This arises from evidence for the capacity to generate the active metabolite, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)D3), locally in many tissues beyond the kidney; expression of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in immune and structural cells not involved in calcium-phosphate homeostasis; and control by 1,25(OH)D3 of the transcription of genes associated with numerous different biological processes through its nuclear VDR. Abnormalities in the vitamin D axis, including a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency worldwide, now appear important in a wide range of pulmonary diseases including viral and bacterial respiratory infection, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer. Actions of vitamin D on innate immune responses, for example, production of antimicrobial peptides and autophagy, and on adaptive immune responses, for example, promoting regulatory lymphocytes, are believed to underpin these associations.

  • Asthma
  • Cytokine Biology
  • COPD Mechanisms
  • Lung Cancer
  • Lymphocyte Biology
  • Macrophage Biology
  • Respiratory Infection

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