A derivative of cholesterol present in the skin. It can be converted to cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) by the action of ultraviolet radiation.
- Chemical formula: C27H44O. The particular isomer involved in vitamin D3 formation is 7-dehydrocholesterol.
- In the skin 7 - dehydrocholesterol is converted to cholecalciferol following UV irradiation.
- The most important source of vitamin D for all individuals is the sunlight-driven conversion in skin of 7 - dehydrocholesterol to cholecalciferol.
- Other types of UV dosimeters are based on the photodamage of DNA in spores, bacteria or bacteriophages or the conversion of 7 - dehydrocholesterol to previtamin D.
1930s: from dehydro- 'that has lost hydrogen' + cholesterol.
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