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J Nutr. 1991 Dec;121(12):1960-8.

Mitogen response of B cells, but not T cells, is impaired in adult vitamin A-deficient rats.

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TNO Institute for Aging and Vascular Research, Leiden, The Netherlands.

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  • J Nutr 1992 Mar;122(3):588.


The effect of vitamin A deficiency on the mitogen response of splenic B and T lymphocytes was determined in adult vitamin A-deficient rats. Female weanling Brown Norway/Billingham-Rijswijk (BN/BiRij) and Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a semipurified, essentially vitamin A-free diet, which resulted in clinical symptoms of vitamin A deficiency and severely decreased plasma retinol contents at the age of about 17 and 41 wk for BN/BiRij and Sprague-Dawley rats, respectively. A lower B cell proliferative response after stimulation with lipopolysaccharide in combination with dextran sulfate was observed in vitamin A-deficient rats of both strains, but the T cell proliferative response after concanavalin A stimulation was unchanged. The lower B cell mitogen response was not associated with changes in the cellular composition of the spleen (as analyzed with monoclonal antibodies specific for the various subsets of T and B cells and of macrophages). We suggest that the age at which clinical symptoms of vitamin A deficiency are induced may be an important determinant for the immunological variables affected.

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