DeLuca, Hector F. Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
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Either of two fat-soluble sterol-like compounds, ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and activated cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Vitamin D2 is formed from the irradiation of ergosterol, a plant sterol. However, vitamin D3 is normally manufactured in the skin, where ultraviolet light activates the compound 7-dehydrocholesterol. Vitamins D3 and D2 are about equal in activity in all mammals except New World monkeys and birds, in which vitamin D2 is approximately one-tenth as active as vitamin D3. See also: Vitamin
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