Review Volume 12, Issue 13 pp 13824—13844
Vitamin D deficiency as a potential risk factor for accelerated aging, impaired hippocampal neurogenesis and cognitive decline: a role for Wnt/β-catenin signaling
- 1 Área de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain
- 2 Instituto de Investigación e Innovación Biomédica de Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain
- 3 Departamento de Anatomía y Embriología Humanas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain
- 4 Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
Received: March 12, 2020 Accepted: June 4, 2020 Published: June 17, 2020https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.103510
How to Cite
Copyright © 2020 Gómez-Oliva et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that participates in several homeostatic functions in mammalian organisms. Lower levels of vitamin D are produced in the older population, vitamin D deficiency being an accelerating factor for the progression of the aging process. In this review, we focus on the effect that vitamin D exerts in the aged brain paying special attention to the neurogenic process. Neurogenesis occurs in the adult brain in neurogenic regions, such as the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (DG). This region generates new neurons that participate in cognitive tasks. The neurogenic rate in the DG is reduced in the aged brain because of a reduction in the number of neural stem cells (NSC). Homeostatic mechanisms controlled by the Wnt signaling pathway protect this pool of NSC from being depleted. We discuss in here the crosstalk between Wnt signaling and vitamin D, and hypothesize that hypovitaminosis might cause failure in the control of the neurogenic homeostatic mechanisms in the old brain leading to cognitive impairment. Understanding the relationship between vitamin D, neurogenesis and cognitive performance in the aged brain may facilitate prevention of cognitive decline and it can open a door into new therapeutic fields by perspectives in the elderly.