|Meydani, Simin - TUFTS/HNRCA|
Submitted to: Oxidants and Antioxidants in Biology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 22, 2005
Publication Date: August 25, 2005
Citation: Meydani, S.N. 2005. Vitamin E and respiratory infections in the elderly. Oxidants and Antioxidants in Biology. Book of Abstracts, pg. 63. Technical Abstract: Respiratory infections are prevalent in the elderly, resulting in increased morbidity, mortality, and utilization of health care services. Contributing to the increased incidence of infection with age is the well-described decline in immune response. Recently, however we have shown that the aged host also promotes evolution of a virulent viral species from a non-virulent species. These findings propose a new host-virus paradigm for studies of viral infection in the aged. Nutritional status is an important determinant of immune function. We have shown, in double-blind, placebo controlled trials that vitamin E supplementation significantly improved immune response, including DTH and response to vaccines. Furthermore, subjects receiving E in the 6-month trial had a 30 percent lower incidence of infectious diseases. These findings were supported by studies in animal model of influenza as well as secondary bacterial infection. In addition, recently, we conducted a randomized double-blind, placebo controlled trial to determine the effect of 1-year supplementation with 200 IU/day vitamin E on incidence and duration of respiratory infections in 617 elderly nursing home residents. Vitamin E supplementation significantly reduced the risk of acquiring upper respiratory infections in elderly nursing home residents. In addition, a significant reduction in incident rate of common colds and the number of subjects who acquire a cold was observed. A non-significant reduction in the duration of colds was also observed. Further studies are needed to determine the mechanism of vitamin E induced increase resistance to viral infections. In light of our new findings on the effect of aging on viral evolution, these studies should focus on immune and non-immune related host factors.