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      Mounting evidence for vitamin D as an environmental factor affecting autoimmune disease prevalence.

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          Abstract

          Low vitamin D status has been implicated in the etiology of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and inflammatory bowel disease. The optimal level of vitamin D intake required to support optimal immune function is not known but is likely to be at least that required for healthy bones. Experimentally, vitamin D deficiency results in the increased incidence of autoimmune disease. Mechanistically, the data point to a role for vitamin D in the development of self-tolerance. The vitamin D hormone (1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D(3)) regulates T helper cell (Th1) and dendritic cell function while inducing regulatory T-cell function. The net result is a decrease in the Th1-driven autoimmune response and decreased severity of symptoms. This review discusses the accumulating evidence pointing to a link between vitamin D and autoimmunity. Increased vitamin D intakes might decrease the incidence and severity of autoimmune diseases and the rate of bone fracture.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Exp Biol Med (Maywood)
          Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.)
          SAGE Publications
          1535-3702
          1535-3699
          Dec 2004
          : 229
          : 11
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. mxc69@psu.edu
          Article
          229/11/1136
          10.1177/153537020422901108
          15564440
          b5d274d0-8a73-42b2-b443-d2d11937d06c
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