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The vitamin D endocrine system

The vitamin D endocrine system comprises a group of 7-dehydrocholesterol-derived secosteroid molecules, including its active metabolite 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D (1,25(OH)2D), its precursors and other metabolites, its binding protein (DBP) and nuclear receptor (VDR), as well as cytochrome P450 complex enzymes participating in activation and inactivation pathways of those molecules. The biologic effects of 1,25(OH)2D are mediated by VDR, a ligand-activated transcription factor which is a member of the nuclear receptors family, spread in almost all human cells. In addition to its classic role in the regulation of calcium metabolism and bone health, evidence suggests that 1,25(OH)2D directly or indirectly modulates about 3% of the human genome, participating in the regulation of chief functions of systemic homeostasis, such as cell growth, differentiation and apoptosis, regulation of immune, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, and insulin metabolism. Given the critical influence of the vitamin D endocrine system in many processes of systemic metabolic equilibrium, the laboratory assays available for the evaluation of this system have to present high accuracy and reproducibility, enabling the establishment of cutoff points that, beyond being consensually accepted, reliably express the vitamin D status of the organism, and the respective clinical-metabolic impacts on the global health of the individual.

Vitamin D; 25-hidroxivitamina D; 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D; bone and mineral metabolism; systemic homeostasis; laboratory assays

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