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Impaired mucosal antibody response to cholera toxin in vitamin A-deficient rats immunized with oral cholera vaccine.

Wiedermann U; Hanson LA; Holmgren J; Kahu H; Dahlgren UI
Infect Immun 1993 Sep;61(9):3952-7

To investigate the importance of vitamin A in the ability to respond to oral antigen administration, rats were fed a vitamin A-free diet. The animals were immunized perorally three times with a mixture of cholera toxin (CT) and a commercial cholera vaccine. The total immunoglobulin A (IgA) concentration as well as the specific IgA anti-CT antibody levels in serum and bile was significantly lower in the vitamin A-deficient animals than in the paired fed controls (animals that were fed a normal commercial diet in an amount equal to the amount the deficient animals consumed), while the levels of total and specific anti-CT IgG were not affected to the same extent by the vitamin A deficiency. The number of IgA anti-CT antibody-producing cells in the mesenteric lymph nodes after immunization was also significantly lower in the vitamin A-deficient rats than in the control rats. Supplementation of the diet with retinyl palmitate restored the ability to mount an IgA antibody response to the antigen, since the level of specific IgA anti-CT antibodies in relation to the total IgA concentration was as high in the vitamin A-supplemented group as in the paired fed control group. Restricted diet intake by itself did not affect the ability to respond adequately to the antigen since there was no difference in IgA anti-CT antibody level between paired fed rats and those being fed ad libitum. Assessment of transforming growth factor beta in cell cultures revealed no difference between vitamin A-deficient and paired fed animals. In summary, vitamin A deficiency resulted in a decreased number of IgA-producing cells, decreased IgA production, and a reduced ability to respond with IgA antibodies to the oral cholera vaccine.

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