Vitamin D, Bone and Skin Laboratory

Lab head: Rebecca S. Mason
Location: F13 - Anderson Stuart Building

Vitamin D is important for bone and muscle function. It is mainly derived from the energy from sunlight, which converts a precursor, 7-dehydrocholesterol in skin, to vitamin D. How vitamin D status is maintained in winter, is unclear. The role of muscle in helping to maintain blood levels of vitamin D compounds is being investigated.

Studies by this group have shown that in skin, vitamin D compounds contribute to protection from ultraviolet/sun damage. Examination of how this photoprotective effect is produced is also a focus of the laboratory and may lead to new agents to enhance sun protection.

Lab members: RS Mason (head)

Muscle as a storage site for vitamin D

Primary supervisor: Rebecca Mason

Most vitamin D is made in skin as a result of a photochemical reaction between UVB light and 7-dehydrocholesterol. The vitamin D is then converted to 25hydroxyvitamin D, the major circulating form of vitamin D, in the liver and then to the active hormone, 1,25dihydroxyvitamin D in the kidney and other tissues. Since there is relatively little vitamin D made in winter (not much UVB and not much skin exposed), a storage mechanism for vitamin D seems likely, but has not been investigated. Several lines of indirect evidence are consistent with a proposal that muscle is a site of 25hydroxyvitamin D storage and release. The project, which includes whole animal and cell culture studies, will test this hypothesis.

Discipline: Physiology