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Vitamin A deficiency impairs vaccine-elicited gastrointestinal immunity

David R Kaufman, Jaime De Calisto, Nathaniel L Simmons, Ashley N Cruz, Eduardo J Villablanca, J Rodrigo Mora, Dan H Barouch
Journal of Immunology 2011 August 15, 187 (4): 1877-83
Vitamin A deficiency is highly prevalent in much of the developing world, where vaccination programs are of paramount importance to public health. However, the impact of vitamin A deficiency on the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of vaccines has not been defined previously. In this article, we show that the vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid is critical for trafficking of vaccine-elicited T lymphocytes to the gastrointestinal mucosa and for vaccine protective efficacy in mice. Moderate vitamin A deficiency abrogated Ag-specific T lymphocyte trafficking to the gastrointestinal tract, gastrointestinal cellular immune responses, and protection against a mucosal challenge following immunization with a recombinant adenovirus vaccine vector. Oral vitamin A supplementation as well as retinoic acid administration fully restored the mucosal immune responses and vaccine protective efficacy. These data suggest that oral vitamin A supplementation may be important for optimizing the success of vaccines against HIV-1 and other mucosal pathogens in the developing world, highlighting a critical relationship between host nutritional status and vaccine efficacy.

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