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J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2003 Jun;49(3):172-8.

IgE responses in mice fed moderate protein deficient and high protein diets.

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Department of Nutrition, University of Tokushima School of Medicine, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan.


While severe protein energy malnutrition (PEM) has been known to depress several immune functions, allergies are suppressed by decreasing IgE and impairing vascular permeability and mast cell functions. To address the effect of moderate protein malnutrition without growth arrest and protein hypernutrition on type I allergy, we examined the effect of various levels of protein nutrition on allergy at humoral immunity and the regulation of Th cell function levels. Mice fed 100 g/kg (moderate protein malnutrition; MPM), 200 g/kg (normal protein nutrition; PN) and 400 g/kg (protein hypernutrition; PH) protein diets were intraperitoneally sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA) in aluminum hydroxide. Higher elevations of OVA-specific IgE and total IgE in the serum were observed in the PH group as compared to the PN group. However, OVA-specific IgE in the MPM group was not significantly different from that in the PN group, although the former appeared higher than the latter. While CD3, CD4, CD8 and B220 expressions in the splenic lymphocytes were decreased in the MPM group, B220 expressions were increased in the PH group. Splenic lymphocyte proliferative responses to OVA were augmented in the PH group and depressed in the MPM group. IFN-gamma production from splenic lymphocytes was significantly decreased; however, IL-4 production was not affected significantly in the MPM group, and increased in the PH group. These findings suggest that immune functions to specific antigens in the MPM state are depressed at the cytokine level but not in terms of IgE responses. They also suggest that immune functions become Th2-predominant in the PH state, resulting in an increased risk of type I allergy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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