• calcitriol;
  • skin;
  • vitamin D3


Irradiation of human skin with ultraviolet B (280–320 nm) initiates the photochemical conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol via previtamin D3 to vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 needs for its activation two hydroxylation steps in the liver and kidney. The final product, hormonally active 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol), arrives via the circulation to its target tissues and acts in a genomic or nongenomic manner. It has been found that human skin irradiated with ultraviolet B also is able to produce calcitriol in substantial amounts. This cutaneous vitamin D3 pathway is unique and, most likely, of considerable relevance for healthy and diseased skin. It is well known that topical application of calcitriol and its analogs can improve hyperproliferative skin diseases. Some studies have convincingly demonstrated that calcitriol and other vitamin D analogs may also be used for the treatment of immunological, inflammatory, and infectious skin diseases. More recently, it has been found that calcitriol or vitamin D analogs have photoprotective effects and can reduce UV-induced deoxyribonucleic acid damage.