Vitamin D deficiency and impaired placental function: Potential regulation by glucocorticoids?

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Maternal vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in a range of pregnancy complications including preeclampsia, preterm birth and intrauterine growth restriction. Some of these adverse outcomes arise from alterations in placental function. Indeed, vitamin D appears critical for implantation, inflammation, immune function and angiogenesis in the placenta. Despite these associations, absence of the placental vitamin D receptor in mice provokes little effect. Thus, interactions between maternal and fetal compartments are likely crucial for instigating adverse placental changes. Indeed, maternal vitamin D deficiency elicits changes in glucocorticoid-related parameters in pregnancy, which increase placental and fetal glucocorticoid exposure. As in utero glucocorticoid excess has a well-established role in eliciting placental dysfunction and fetal growth restriction, this review proposes that glucocorticoids are an important consideration when understanding the impact of vitamin D deficiency on placental function and fetal development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R163-R171
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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