Vitamin D3: An ever green molecule

Michele Di Rosa, Lucia Malaguarnera, Anna Nicolosi, Cristina Sanfilippo, Clorinda Mazzarino, Piero Pavone, Massimiliano Berretta, Stefano Cosentino, Bruno Cacopardo, Marilia Rita Pinzone, Giuseppe Nunnari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vitamin D3 is a key regulator of vertebrates homeostasis. It is synthesized from the precursor 7- dehydrocholesterol upon UVB exposure in the skin and then hydrolyzed in the liver in position 25, to be finally converted into its active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D or calcitriol), in the kidneys. The biological activity of this molecule depends on its binding to the nuclear receptor VDR, which binds VDRE once complexed with RXR-alpha. Despite being present in different types of food, the best way to assume it at physiological levels remains the exposure to UVB radiation at certain hours of the day and at particular angles of the Earth's crust. There is plenty of evidence that altered levels of vitamin D3 are associated with pathological conditions, such as osteoporosis, cancer, immunological and infectious diseases. In this review, we discuss vitamin D3 metabolism, its role in several diseases and the link between vitamin D3 and immune cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-260
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience - Scholar
Volume5 S
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Diet
  • Immune cells
  • Macrophage
  • Review
  • Vitamin D3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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