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2014 | 61 | 4 | 679-686
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The renaissance of vitamin D

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There is no doubt that vitamin D plays a crucial role in the maintenance of musculoskeletal system. But the function of this ancient molecule presumably ranges far beyond hormone-like regulation, as it could be generated by simple unicellular organisms. First, we are going to discuss the role of vitamin D as a global regulator of homeostasis from a historical perspective, but later we will focus on current views and its relevance to human physiology and pathology. Three milestones are defining the impact of vitamin D on science and humanity. Firstly, discovery that vitamin D is the cure for rickets, brought us supplementation programs and rapid irradiation of this devastating disease. Secondly, detail description of photoproduction of vitamin D, its subsequent metabolism and interaction with vitamin D receptor VDR, provided mechanistic background for future discoveries. Finally, recent large epidemiological studies provided indirect, but strong evidence that optimal level of vitamin D in serum has beneficial effects on our health and protects us from multiple diseases, including cancer. Furthermore, existence of alternative pathways of vitamin D metabolism and multiple intracellular targets broadens our understanding of its physiological activities and offers new and very promising tools for prophylactics and treatment of many diseases of civilization. Although vitamin D (and its derivatives) should not be regarded as a cure-all for every human disease, its beneficial effects on the human health have to be taken under consideration.
Physical description
  • Department of Histology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland
  • Department of Histology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland
  • Department of Histology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland
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