Effects of supplementation with vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, and zinc on immune function in a murine sensitization model.Nutrition 2003 Nov-Dec; 19(11-12):940-6N
We compared the effects of supplementing with vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, and zinc on a range of innate and specific T-helper 1 (Th1) and Th2-driven adaptive immune responses.
BALB/c mice were fed semi-purified AIN93 diets and randomly assigned to receive a diet supplemented with 120 mg/kg of vitamin A, 2500 mg/kg of vitamin C, 1000 mg/kg of vitamin E, 2 mg/kg of selenium, and 500 mg/kg of zinc (n = 15/group). After 4 wk of supplementation, mice were sensitized by topical application of di-nitro-chlorobenzene (DNCB); 2 wk later mice were challenged; and 5 d later they were killed to assess the effect on a range of innate responses (phagocytic activity, oxidative burst and tumor necrosis factor-alpha), adaptive Th1-driven responses (delayed-type hypersensitivity, DNCB-specific immunoglobulin [Ig] G2a and IgG2b, and interferon-gamma [IFN-gamma]), and adaptive Th2-driven responses (DNCB-specific IgE and IgG1 and interleukin-4 [IL-4]).
Immune function was affected only in the vitamin A group. These mice gained less weight and were less capable of resolving the inflammatory response elicited during sensitization. The oxidative burst of blood cells was increased, but production of IFN-gamma and IL-4 and the ratio of IFN-gamma to IL-4 were markedly depressed. In concordance with the latter result, production of Th1-driven IgG2a antibodies was decreased, whereas Th2-driven isotypes were not affected (IgG1, IgE) and mucosal IgA was increased.
These findings confirmed that supplementary amounts of vitamin A above dietary requirements enhance inflammatory responses accompanied by decreased Th1 and increased mucosal responses. However, supplementation of these sufficiently fed, non-stressed, young adult mice with vitamins C and E, selenium, or zinc had no effect on immune function. We speculate that using this model in aged, physiologically, or nutritionally stressed mice may provide outcomes more similar to those in sensitive human populations. If so, this would improve the usefulness of the model to assess, characterize, and rank effects of foods or nutrients on a range of immune functions, including Th1/Th2 polarization.