The vitamin D endocrine system plays an important role in the maintenance of normal calcium homeostasis. Abnormalities of this system occur in many conditions, such as rickets, osteomalacia, hypoparathyroidism, and hyperparathyroidism. The diagnosis and treatment of these disorders will be facilitated if the clinician understands the general mechanisms by which defects in vitamin D metabolism and action occur. We review this information and discuss the use and limitations of vitamin D metabolite assays for diagnosis of clinical disorders of mineral metabolism.
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