Vitamin D exerts an anti-inflammatory effect in both health and disease. The importance
of vitamin D in protection against various inflammatory and metabolic diseases, including
inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), has been discussed. Considerable data indicate a
role for vitamin D in the activation of autophagy, an intracellular renewal system that maintains
homeostasis by eliminating large protein aggregates and damaged organelles. Recent
studies have demonstrated an intricate interplay between autophagy and the regulation of inflammation,
suggesting that autophagy-modulating agents could be used to treat IBDs. This
review focuses on the role and mechanisms of vitamin D in autophagy and the regulation of
intestinal inflammation. Vitamin D shows promise for the prevention and amelioration of
pathologic responses in IBD, an effect that is mediated, at least in part, by the induction and
modulation of autophagy.
Keywords: Vitamin D, autophagy, inflammasome, inflammatory bowel disesase, vitamin D receptor, Crohn’s
disease, innate immunity.
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