Theoretical basis of a beneficial role for vitamin D in viral hepatitis.
Abnormal bone metabolism and dysfunction of the calcium-parathyroid hormone-vitamin D axis have been reported in patients with viral hepatitis. Some studies suggested a relationship between vitamin D and viral hepatitis. Genetic studies have provided an opportunity to identify the proteins that link vitamin D to the pathology of viral hepatitis (i.e., the major histocompatibility complex class II molecules, the vitamin D receptor, cytochrome P₄₅₀, the renin-angiotensin system, apolipoprotein E, liver X receptor, toll-like receptor, and the proteins regulated by the Sp1 promoter gene). Vitamin D also exerts its effects on viral hepatitis via non-genomic factors, i.e., matrix metalloproteinase, endothelial vascular growth factor, prostaglandins, cyclooxygenase-2, and oxidative stress. In conclusion, vitamin D could have a beneficial role in viral hepatitis. Calcitriol is best used for viral hepatitis because it is the active form of the vitamin D₃ metabolite.