Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in bone metabolism but is also endowed with the capability of modulating inflammatory and immune function. Recent studies reported a relationship between low vitamin D levels and several autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes. Vitamin D regulates the expression of over 200 genes, also related to immune modulation, suggesting a putative role in these diseases pathogenesis. This review overviews the most recent advances on the association between vitamin D and increased risk of Type 1 Diabetes as well as between vitamin D and either glucose homeostasis or insulin sensitivity. The effects of vitamin D in modulating the immune response and balancing anti-inflammatory cytokines, suggest that vitamin D system may represent an unforeseen target for the design of novel strategies for the treatment of patients with autoimmune diseases and in particular Type 1 Diabetes.

Keywords: Childhood, Type 1 Diabetes, Autoimmune Disease, Vitamin D, Glycemic control, Extra-skeletal effects.
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