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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2010, Article ID 631052, 1 page

Vitamin D

1Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipids, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
2Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
3Division of Rheumatology and Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
4Section of Gastroenterology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
5Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, & Metabolism, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02215, USA

Received 23 December 2009; Accepted 23 December 2009

Copyright © 2010 Vin Tangpricha et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

The story of vitamin D continues to unfold almost 40 years after its discovery as a steroid hormone. The renaissance of vitamin D research began in the early 1990s when it became apparent that other tissues could produce the steroidal form of vitamin D locally and that the steroid form of vitamin D could regulate many functions important to several cellular processes. These initial observations were found in cells of the immune system followed by cancer cells. It is now known that vitamin D regulates over 900 genes and is involved in nearly every organ system in the human body. The potential that vitamin D has to modulate several organ systems coupled with early epidemiologic associations of low vitamin D status and several chronic disease states has resulted in a large newly formed scientific community focused on the investigation of vitamin D from the bench to bedside.

The manuscripts submitted to our special issue on vitamin D in the International Journal of Endocrinology demonstrate the wide breath of interest in vitamin D research. The vitamin D deficiency epidemic continues to be present internationally as reported by several of our submitted manuscripts. Classically, vitamin D deficiency results in inadequate mineralization of bone leading to osteoporosis; however, as reported by Straube and colleagues, vitamin D deficiency can also cause chronic pain which is often overlooked in clinical practice.

There continues to be interest in the effects of vitamin D on infancy and early adolescence and in populations with malabsorption. Several of our submitted manuscripts call attention to vitamin D deficiency in these populations. Wagner and colleagues provide evidence that early intervention with vitamin D in breast fed children can prevent vitamin D deficiency. Several groups have focused attention to the role of vitamin D in the cardiovascular system. In particular, our special issue has several manuscripts examining the role of vitamin D on lipid metabolism and glucose metabolism.

The story of vitamin D continues. Several chapters remain to be written. We still do not fully understand why the vitamin D hormone regulates so many different processes in the human. We remain optimistic that correction of vitamin D deficiency will reverse many of the epidemiologic associations of vitamin D deficiency with chronic medical illness.

Vin Tangpricha
Suzanne E. Judd
Diane Kamen
Yan Chun Li
Alan Malabanan