Vitamin A nutritional status has been implicated as important in maintaining the integrity of immune functions. We have determined the effect of vitamin A (retinol) depletion on the ability of young animals to produce antibodies after challenge with various bacterial antigens. Male Lewis rats raised on vitamin A-free or adequate diets were immunized either near 40 days of age, before signs of vitamin A deficiency were apparent, or near 47 days of age when symptoms of deficiency were beginning to be manifest. For rats immunized with polysaccharide antigens from Streptococcus pneumoniae or Neisseria meningitidis, antibody production did not exceed 0-19% of the response of control rats. Vitamin A depletion also severely compromised the response to two T cell-dependent antigens, tetanus toxoid and sheep red blood cells. In striking contrast, retinol-depleted rats immunized with lipopolysaccharides from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens produced an antibody response indistinguishable from retinol-sufficient animals. These lipopolysaccharides could elicit antibodies in rat pups, whereas the capsular polysaccharide antigens could not. This is consistent with the characteristics of type 1 and type 2 antigens, respectively. These studies indicate that retinol status is an important determinant of the humoral immune response to certain types of antigen and suggest that antibody production to capsular polysaccharides and T cell-dependent antigens is particularly dependent on adequate retinol status.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology