Interest in vitamin A as a regulator of immune function goes back to the early 1900s. Recently, several lines of evidence have converged to show that retinoic acid (RA), a major oxidative metabolite of vitamin A, plays a key role in the differentiation of T cell subsets, the migration of T cells into tissues, and the proper development of T cell-dependent antibody responses. This review discusses evidence from experimental studies that RA promotes the differentiation of regulatory T cells, which help to suppress inflammatory reactions, and plays a significant role in normal mucosal immunity by modulating T cell activation and regulating cell trafficking. RA also promotes antibody responses to T cell-dependent antigens. Conversely, in a state of vitamin A deficiency, inflammatory T cell reactions may be inadequately opposed and therefore become dominant. Although data from human studies are still needed, the framework now developed from studies in mice and rat models suggests that adequate vitamin A status, whether derived from ingestion of preformed retinol or β-carotene, is important for maintaining a proper balance of well-regulated T cell functions and for preventing excessive or prolonged inflammatory reactions.
"Its deficiency is associated with squamous metaplasia of the conjunctiva (Mckelvie, 2003). Vitamin A also acts as a mucosal and systemic immune enhancer through immunohomeostasis of CD4þ helper T cells and Treg cells (Hall et al., 2011; Pino-Lagos et al., 2011; Ross, 2012). These cells are part of tumour immuno-surveillance. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The incidence of ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN) is strongly associated with solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, HIV and human papilloma virus (HPV). Africa has the highest incidence rates in the world. Most lesions occur at the limbus within the interpalpebral fissure particularly the nasal sector. The nasal limbus receives the highest intensity of sunlight. Limbal epithelial crypts are concentrated nasally and contain niches of limbal epithelial stem cells in the basal layer. It is possible that these are the progenitor cells in OSSN. OSSN arises in the basal epithelial cells spreading towards the surface which resembles the movement of corneo-limbal stem cell progeny before it later invades through the basement membrane below. UV radiation damages DNA producing pyrimidine dimers in the DNA chain. Specific CC -> TT base pair dimer transformations of the p53 tumour-suppressor gene occur in OSSN allowing cells with damaged DNA past the G1-S cell cycle checkpoint. UV radiation also causes local and systemic photo-immunosuppression and reactivates latent viruses such as HPV. The E7 proteins of HPV promote proliferation of infected epithelial cells via the retinoblastoma gene while E6 proteins prevent the p53 tumour suppressor gene from effecting cell-cycle arrest of DNA-damaged and infected cells. Immunosuppression from UV radiation, HIV and vitamin A deficiency impairs tumour immune surveillance allowing survival of aberrant cells. Tumour growth and metastases are enhanced by; telomerase reactivation which increases the number of cell divisions a cell can undergo; vascular endothelial growth factor for angiogenesis and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that destroy the intercellular matrix between cells. Despite these potential triggers, the disease is usually unilateral. It is unclear how HPV reaches the conjunctiva. (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Experimental Eye Research 10/2014; 129. DOI:10.1016/j.exer.2014.10.015 · 2.71 Impact Factor
"Vitamin A also promotes antibody responses to T-cell–dependent antigens  and increases protective antitumor immunity through mechanisms such as induction of cell differentiation and enhancement of migration to lymph nodes . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of dietary vitamin A supplementation on reproductive performance, liver function, fat-soluble vitamin retention, and immune response were studied in laying broiler breeders. In the first phase of the experiment, 1,120 Ross-308 broiler breeder hens were fed a diet of corn and soybean meal supplemented with 5,000 to 35,000 IU/kg vitamin A (retinyl acetate) for 20 weeks. In the second phase, 384 Ross-308 broiler breeder hens were fed the same diet supplemented with 5,000 to 135,000 IU/kg vitamin A (retinyl acetate) for 24 weeks. The hens' reproductive performance, the concentrations of vitamins A and E in liver and egg yolk, liver function, mRNA expression of vitamin D receptor in duodenal mucosa, antibody titers against Newcastle disease virus vaccine, and T-cell proliferation responses were evaluated. Supplementation of vitamin A at levels up to and including 35,000 IU/kg did not affect reproductive performance and quadratically affected antibody titer to Newcastle disease virus vaccine (p<0.05). Dietary addition of vitamin A linearly increased vitamin A concentration in liver and yolk and linearly decreased α-, γ-, and total tocopherol concentration in yolk (p<0.01) and α-tocopherol in liver (p<0.05). Supplementation of vitamin A at doses of 45,000 IU/kg and above significantly decreased egg weight, yolk color, eggshell thickness and strength, and reproductive performance. Dietary vitamin A significantly increased mRNA expression of vitamin D receptor in duodenal mucosa (p<0.05), increased aspartate amino transferase activity, and decreased total bilirubin concentration in serum. Supplementation of vitamin A at 135,000 IU/kg decreased the proliferation of peripheral blood lymphocytes (p<0.05). Therefore, the maximum tolerable dose of vitamin A for broiler breeders appears to be 35,000 IU/kg, as excessive supplementation has been shown to impair liver function, reproductive performance, and immune response.
PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105677. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105677 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"Potential benefits are highlighted by GM rice strains modified to produce high levels of beta-carotene. Vitamin A deficiency severely impairs immune function and thus any alleviation could produce dramatic benefit in parts of the world with both low nutrient supply and high exposure to pathogens . While not without vocal detractors , use of GM rice is equivalent to supplement pills at providing adequate intake of vitamin A in children and thus offers a potentially life-saving benefit, as delivering beta-carotene through rice would be easier and more economically sustainable than through medication . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While numerous changes in human lifestyle constitute modern life, our diet has been gaining attention as a potential contributor to the increase in immune-mediated diseases. The Western diet is characterized by an over consumption and reduced variety of refined sugars, salt, and saturated fat. Herein our objective is to detail the mechanisms for the Western diet's impact on immune function. The manuscript reviews the impacts and mechanisms of harm for our over-indulgence in sugar, salt, and fat, as well as the data outlining the impacts of artificial sweeteners, gluten, and genetically modified foods; attention is given to revealing where the literature on the immune impacts of macronutrients is limited to either animal or in vitro models versus where human trials exist. Detailed attention is given to the dietary impact on the gut microbiome and the mechanisms by which our poor dietary choices are encoded into our gut, our genes, and are passed to our offspring. While today's modern diet may provide beneficial protection from micro- and macronutrient deficiencies, our over abundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.
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