A remarkable body of literature data documents an association between vitamin D and the development of various central nervous system (CNS) diseases. The brain is capable of synthetizing and catabolizing vitamin D, which has been shown to regulate many cellular processes in neurons and microglia. By reducing the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the oxidative stress load, vitamin D assists with synaptic plasticity and neurotransmission in dopaminergic neural circuits and exerts anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective activities within the brain. Further, vitamin D action in the brain has been related to the clearance of amyloid plaques, which represent the hallmarks of Alzheimer Disease (AD), by the immune cell. Based on these considerations, many studies have investigated the role of circulating vitamin D levels in patients affected by neurodegenerative diseases, to assess the eventual role of vitamin D as a biomarker or a risk factor in AD and Parkinson Disease (PD). An association between low vitamin D levels and the onset and progression of AD and PD has been reported, and some interventional studies to evaluate the role of vitamin D in preventing disease onset have been performed. However, many pitfalls affected the studies available, including strong discrepancies in the methods used and the lack of standardized data. Despite a large number of studies, it remains unclear whether Vitamin D can have a role in neurodegenerative diseases. This Special Issue aims to collect studies on the role of Vitamin D in AD, PD and other neurodegenerative disorders, both as either a biomarker or a risk factor.
Dr. Giulia Bivona
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