Vitamin D deficiency as a triggering factor of development of autoimmune diseases

Vitamin D deficiency is a new non-infectious pandemic of the 21st century and demonstrates close pathogenetic relationships with the growing incidence of autoimmune diseases – type 1 diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis, alopecia areata, lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, etc. Taking into account that vitamin D is one of the main regulators of immune mechanisms, its role at present is actively investigated in patients with autoimmune pathologies. By the example of the
pathogenesis of one of the difficult-to-control autoimmune diseases – alopecia areata, which, in its turn, without hindering overall well-being, is the cause of significant psychological discomfort, in most cases resulting in progressive, recurrent hair loss, we have analysed an interrelation between immune and hormonal regulation of hair follicles, and the role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of this autoimmune disease. The findings of many research works are demonstrative of decreased levels of serum vitamin D in alopecia areata as compared to healthy subjects, and also a correlation between VDR expression and hair growth. In long-term deficiency of vitamin D, patients with genetic predisposition are likely to develop this kind of hair loss, as well as other kinds of autoimmune pathologies. Vitamin D deficiency does not only decrease overall immunity but also reduces general
stress resistance of the body. Even minimal physiological stress in such patients against the background of a relatively insufficient production of corticosteroid hormones is capable of triggering autoimmune inflammation of hair follicles, both primary and subsequent relapses. Considering that in the 21st century vitamin D deficiency has acquired the character of a pandemic, it is not surprising that autoimmune disorders are growing, including alopecia areata, and the interest to this disorder due to the growing number of patients, on the one hand, difficult treatment, on the other, against the background of incompletely investigated pathogenesis, has resulted in creating a new field of  medicine – trichology. Therefore, normalisation of the levels of vitamin D and corticosteroid hormones might be regarded as a pathogenetic and preventive approach to treatment of not
only alopecia areata but also other autoimmune pathologies.

Key words: autoimmune diseases, vitamin D, alopecia areata, treatment.

For citation: Kalinchenko S.Yu., Korotkova N.A. Vitamin D deficiency as a triggering factor of development of autoimmune diseases. Vopr. dietol. (Nutrition). 2018; 8(2): 32–37. (In Russian).

DOI: 10.20953/2224-5448-2018-2-32-37