Prevention of progressive renal function loss and its complications remains the main challenge in clinical nephrology. Although current therapeutic strategies aiming at reduction of blood pressure and proteinuria often slow down deterioration of renal function, still many patients progress to end-stage renal disease. The development of novel pharmacological approaches for treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is therefore instrumental. Here we review the renoprotective potential of vitamin D and its analogues. In CKD patients, vitamin D deficiency is common and progression of CKD is associated with low (active) vitamin D levels. Moreover, in animal models of CKD, treatment with vitamin D (analogues) alone or in combination with renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) blockade reduces proteinuria, glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Potential underlying mechanisms include suppression of the RAAS, modulation of immune cell function and direct protective effects on renal cells such as podocytes. Whether vitamin D analogues could further optimize existing therapies in human renal disease is currently under investigation.
Keywords: Chronic kidney disease, inflammation, renal protection, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, vitamin D, vitamin D analogues, vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D receptor, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), RAAS, cholecalciferol, ergocalciferol, VDBP, megalin, CYP, FGF23, RXRs, hypervitaminosis, hyperlipidemia, albuminuria, nephrin, podocin, glomerulosclerosis, proteinuria