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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #363655

Research Project: Immunity, Inflammation, and Nutrition in Aging

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Vitamin E, immune function, and protection against infection

Author
item Wu, Dayong - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Meydani, Simin - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University

Submitted to: Vitamin E in Human Health
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/26/2018
Publication Date: 4/3/2019
Citation: Wu, D., Meydani, S.N. 2019. Vitamin E, immune function, and protection against infection. In: Weber P, Birringer M, Blumberg JB, Eggersdorfer M., Frank J., editors. Vitamin E in Human Health. Springer Nature, New York, NY. p. 371-384. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-05315-4_26.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-05315-4_26

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Aging is associated with significant changes in immune system, a phenomenon called immunosenescence, which has been implicated in the increased morbidity of, and mortality from infection in the elderly. While many immune functions are affected by aging, the defects in T cells are the most pronounced and best characterized. Nutritional intervention has been proposed to be helpful in delaying/reversing immunosenescence, which is well exemplified in the case of vitamin E. Studies in several species of animals show that vitamin E deficiency impairs immune function, which can be corrected by vitamin E repletion. Although vitamin E deficiency is rare in humans, increased intake above recommended levels has been shown to enhance T cell function, particularly in the aged animals and humans. The mechanisms for this effect of vitamin E involve both direct effect of enhancing T cell activation and effector function, and suppressing effect on production of prostaglandin E2, a T cell-suppressing lipid mediator known to be increased with aging. Vitamin E-induced enhancement of immune functions have significant clinical implication as evidenced by the findings that vitamin E supplementation is associated with both enhanced resistance to respiratory infections in aged mice and older adults. In this chapter, we will review age-related changes in immune system, evidence for immuno-modulating effect of vitamin E, the underlying mechanisms, and its clinical application in protecting the host against infection in both animal models and humans.