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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 1993 Mar;6(3):272-6.

Beta-carotene in HIV infection.

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  • 1Division of Internal Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201-3098.


beta-Carotene has been reported to have an immunostimulatory effect. Recent studies suggest that beta-carotene supplementation can increase CD4 counts in HIV-infected patients. Our double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was designed to test the efficacy of beta-carotene in raising CD4 counts in HIV-infected patients. Twenty-one HIV-seropositive patients were randomized to receive either beta-carotene, 180 mg/day or placebo for 4 weeks, and then crossed over to receive the alternative treatment for the following 4 weeks. beta-Carotene resulted in a statistically significant increase in total WBC count (p = 0.01), % change in CD4 count (p = 0.02), and % change in CD4/CD8 ratios (p = 0.02) compared to placebo. The absolute CD4 count, absolute CD4/CD8 ratio, and total and B-lymphocytes all increased on carotene and fell during placebo, but these differences did not reach statistical significance. No toxicity was observed on either treatment. beta-Carotene appears to have an immunostimulatory effect in HIV-infected patients. Further studies are needed to demonstrate whether beta-carotene has a role as adjunct therapy in treatment of HIV-infected patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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