Epidemiological studies have demonstrated an association between maternal vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of chronic lung disease in offspring. While vitamin D and UV induced non-vitamin D pathways have the capacity to modulate immune function, this relationship may also be explained by an effect on lung development which is an independent predictor of lung function and the risk of lung disease later in life. To date there are not sufficient data to support the role of non-vitamin D pathways in this association, while in vivo and in vitro data suggest that there is a causal relationship between vitamin D and lung development. However, equivocal results in recent high profile clinical trials have dampened enthusiasm for vitamin D as an important public health intervention for improving lung development. In this narrative review we summarise our current understanding of the link between UV exposure, vitamin D and lung development.
- This article is part of the themed collections: 2017 Perspective articles collection and The health benefits of UV radiation exposure through vitamin D production or non-vitamin D pathways