Vitamin D pp 175-193 | Cite as

Biologic and Molecular Effects of Vitamin D on Bone

  • Jane B. Lian
  • Ada Staal
  • André van Wijnen
  • Janet L. Stein
  • Gary S. Stein
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


The skeleton provides rigid mechanical support to the body, protects vital organs, and serves as a reservoir of ions, especially for calcium and phosphate required for serum homeostasis. The integrity of the skeleton is maintained by continuous remodeling of bone tissues throughout life in response to a broad spectrum of physiologic signals. As described in Chapter 9, the active hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (vitamin D) plays a key role in the maintenance of calcium and phosphate blood levels. In response to reduced serum calcium levels, calcium transport is stimulated across the gut and from the renal tubular lumen into the bloodstream. At the same time, calcium is mobilized from bone. Vitamin D actively promotes the release of bone mineral into the circulation by direct effects on the several cellular populations that reside in bone. The hormone influences differentiation and activity of cells of the osteoblast lineage, which form the mineralized bone matrix and cells of the osteoclast lineage, which resorb the mineralized bone (Fig. 1). Vitamin D exerts its effects on these cells by modulating the transcription of a broad spectrum of genes related to these bone cell phenotypes (1). How vitamin D mediates resorption of the bone matrix and subsequent bone formation through complex interactions between different populations of bone cells and at the level of regulation of gene expression is the primary subject of this chapter. The molecular mechanisms contributing to vitamin D-dependent transcription of the bone-specific osteocalcin gene have provided new insights for understanding steroid hormone responses in relation to a broad spectrum of physiologic conditions and phenotypic properties of a cell.


Nuclear Matrix Osteocalcin Gene Runt Homology Domain Osteocalcin Gene Promoter Human Osteocalcin Gene 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane B. Lian
  • Ada Staal
  • André van Wijnen
  • Janet L. Stein
  • Gary S. Stein

There are no affiliations available

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