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Vitamin D and autoimmunity: new aetiological and therapeutic considerations
  1. Yoav Arnson1,
  2. Howard Amital1,
  3. Yehuda Shoenfeld2
  1. 1Department of Medicine ‘D’, Meir Medical Center, Kfar-Saba, affiliated to Tel-Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Israel
  2. 2Department of Medicine ‘B’ and Center for Autoimmune Diseases, affiliated to Tel-Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Howard Amital
    Head of Department of Medicine ‘D’, Meir Medical Center, Tshernichovsky 59, Kfar-Saba, 95847, Israel;hamital{at}


Vitamin D is frequently prescribed by rheumatologists to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Several observations have shown that vitamin D inhibits proinflammatory processes by suppressing the enhanced activity of immune cells that take part in the autoimmune reaction. Moreover, recent evidence strongly suggests that vitamin D supplementation may be therapeutically beneficial, particularly for Th1-mediated autoimmune disorders. Some reports imply that vitamin D may even be preventive in certain disorders such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes type 1. It seems that vitamin D has crossed the boundaries of calcium metabolism and has become a significant factor in a number of physiological functions, specifically as a biological inhibitor of inflammatory hyperactivity.

  • 1,25(OH)2D3, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3
  • 25(OH)D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • GM-CSF, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor
  • IFNγ, interferon γ
  • IL, interleukin
  • NFκB, nuclear factor κB
  • SLE, systemic lupus erythematosus
  • VDR, vitamin D receptor

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  • Published Online First 8 June 2007

  • Competing interests: None.