Harms, Lauren R., Burne, Thomas H. J., Eyles, Darryl W. and McGrath, John J. (2011) Vitamin D and the brain. Best Practice and Research: Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 254: 657-669. doi:10.1016/j.beem.2011.05.009
Vitamin D is a member of the superfamily of nuclear steroid transcription regulators and as such, exerts transcriptional control over a large number of genes. Several other steroids, such as thyroid hormones, vitamin A, androgens and the glucocorticoids, are known as ‘neurosteroids’ and their role in brain development and function is well defined. It has only been in the last decade or so that vitamin D has been thought to function as a neurosteroid. In this review we have collated a diverse array of data describing the presence of vitamin D metabolites and the receptor in the brain, the evidence that vitamin D may be an important modulator of brain development, and the potential role of vitamin D in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.