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The Role of Vitamin D in Nervous System Health and Disease

Deluca GC, Kimball SM, Kolasinski J, Ramagopalan SV, Ebers GC. (2013) Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol.  Jan 21. doi: 10.1111/nan.12020. [Epub ahead of print] 

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Abstract:

Vitamin D and its metabolites have pleomorphic roles in both nervous system health and disease. Animal models have been paramount in contributing to our knowledge and understanding of the consequences of vitamin D deficiency on brain development and its implications for adult psychiatric and neurological diseases.

The conflation of in vitro, ex vivo, and animal model data provide compelling evidence that vitamin D has a crucial role in proliferation, differentiation, neurotrophism, neuroprotection, neurotransmission, and neuroplasticity.  Vitamin D exerts its biological function not only by influencing cellular processes directly, but also by influencing gene expression through vitamin D response elements.

This review highlights the epidemiological, neuropathological, experimental, and molecular genetic evidence implicating vitamin D as a candidate in influencing susceptibility to a number of psychiatric and neurological diseases. The strength of evidence varies for schizophrenia, autism, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and is especially strong for MS.

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For a comprehensive summary of research articles concerning Vitamin D in relation to different aspects of brain development and function, see: