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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 multiple sclerosis.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/nan.12020

Type

Journal article

Journal

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol

Publication Date

08/2013

Volume

39

Pages

458 - 484

Keywords

Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, vitamin D, Humans, Nervous System, Nervous System Diseases, Vitamin D, Vitamin D Deficiency