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Epidemiol Infect. 2014 Jul;142(7):1505-9. doi: 10.1017/S0950268813002495. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

Micronutrient supplementation and T cell-mediated immune responses in patients with tuberculosis in Tanzania.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology,Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA,USA.
  • 2Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Department of Pathology at the Sackler Graduate School of Biochemical Sciences, and Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy,Tufts University,Boston, MAUSA.
  • 3Department of Microbiology and Immunology,Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences,Dar es Salaam,Tanzania.
  • 4Department of Internal Medicine,Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences,Dar es Salaam,Tanzania.
  • 5Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine,Medical Center of the University of Munich,Germany & German Centre for Infection Research, LMU Munich,Germany.
  • 6Department of Biostatistics,Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA,USA.


Limited studies exist regarding whether incorporating micronutrient supplements during tuberculosis (TB) treatment may improve cell-mediated immune response. We examined the effect of micronutrient supplementation on lymphocyte proliferation response to mycobacteria or T-cell mitogens in a randomized trial conducted on 423 patients with pulmonary TB. Eligible participants were randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of micronutrients (vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and selenium) or placebo at the time of initiation of TB treatment. We found no overall effect of micronutrient supplements on lymphocyte proliferative responses to phytohaemagglutinin or purified protein derivatives in HIV-negative and HIV-positive TB patients. Of HIV-negative TB patients, the micronutrient group tended to show higher proliferative responses to concanavalin A than the placebo group, although the clinical relevance of this finding is not readily notable. The role of nutritional intervention in this vulnerable population remains an important area of future research.

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