Author(s): Kitson MT, Roberts SK
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Abstract Vitamin D is synthesized predominantly in the liver and functions as an important secosteroid hormone with pleiotropic effects. While its key regulatory role in calcium and bone homeostasis is well established, recently there is increasing recognition that vitamin D also regulates cell proliferation and differentiation, and has immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties. These non-skeletal effects are relevant in the pathogenesis and treatment of many causes of chronic liver disease. Vitamin D deficiency is frequently present in chronic liver disease and may predict non-response to antiviral therapy in chronic hepatitis C. Small studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation improves sustained viral response rates, while 1α-hydroxylase polymorphisms and vitamin D-binding protein are also implicated in therapeutic outcomes. Vitamin D deficiency also closely relates to the severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and is implicated in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, a key factor in the development of NAFLD. In preclinical studies, phototherapy and vitamin D supplementation ameliorate NAFLD histopathology, while vitamin D is a powerful anti-fibrotic against thioacetamide liver injury. In liver transplant recipients severe vitamin D deficiency predicts, and vitamin D supplementation prevents, acute cellular rejection. The role of vitamin D in the activation and regulation of both innate and adaptive immune systems may explain its importance in the above liver diseases. Further prospective studies are therefore warranted to investigate the therapeutic impact of vitamin D supplementation in chronic liver disease. Copyright © 2012 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Hepatol
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences