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Molecular Mechanism of Vitamin D in the Cardiovascular System
  1. Yan Chun Li, PhD
  1. From the Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.
  1. Received November 29, 2010, and in revised form January 4, 2011.
  2. Accepted for publication January 4, 2011.
  3. Reprints: Yan Chun Li, PhD, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago, 900 E 57th St, KCBD, Mailbox 9-9110, Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail: cyan{at}
  4. Supported in part by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources (R13 RR023236).


Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem that has various adverse consequences. Vitamin D is mainly synthesized in the skin by sunlight (UV light) irradiation; therefore, vitamin D status is influenced by geographic locations, seasonal changes, and skin pigmentations. The kidney is involved in the biosynthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D and the reuptake of filtered 25-hydroxyvitamin D from the proximal tubules, thus, vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with kidney disease who have renal insufficiency. There is a growing body of epidemiological and clinical evidence in the literature that links vitamin D deficiency to cardiovascular disease. The discovery of the vitamin D hormone functioning as an endocrine inhibitor of the renin-angiotensin system provides an explanation for this association. This review will discuss the mechanism underlying the connection between vitamin D and cardiovascular disease and its physiological and therapeutic implications.

Key Words
  • vitamin D
  • cardiovascular system
  • renin-angiotensin system

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