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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-49

Vitamin A: Role in immunity and medical uses: A compendium

Government Medical College, New Lal Bagh, Patiala, Punjab, India

Date of Web Publication24-Dec-2013

Correspondence Address:
Aakshit Goyal
Government Medical College, New Lal Bagh, Patiala, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-019X.123457

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How to cite this article:
Goyal A. Vitamin A: Role in immunity and medical uses: A compendium. J Med Nutr Nutraceut 2014;3:48-9

How to cite this URL:
Goyal A. Vitamin A: Role in immunity and medical uses: A compendium. J Med Nutr Nutraceut [serial online] 2014 [cited 2024 Feb 24];3:48-9. Available from: http://www.jmnn.org/text.asp?2014/3/1/48/123457

Dear Madam,

The review on "Vitamin A deficiency: An Eye Sore" in Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals. [1] It is a complete and an informative reading on the subject. At the same time, it is necessary to emphasize its link with immunity and also mention the varied uses of Vitamin A in medical field. This is especially important for our country and other countries of the third world.

Vitamin A plays an important role in maintenance of the immunological defense of the body. This occurs in two ways; firstly, it maintains the epithelial integrity and secretions from the mucosa, absence of which would increase the exposure to microorganisms predisposing to infections. It also helps in the differentiation of myeloid and lymphoid tissues, which form the backbone of immune system. [2]

Vitamin A has important therapeutic implications in many medical fields. These are listed below:

• Gynecology

Endometriosis: Vitamin A has anti-oxidative properties, which brings it to a considerable use in this condition. [3]

• Enterology

GIT ulcers, Crohn's disease: Vitamin A maintains the epithelial integrity and helps in T-cell differentiation, which regulates mucosal inflammation in intestine. [4]

• Infectious diseases

  1. Respiratory tract infections: Antibodies formed against respiratory tract viruses (example influenza, parainfluenza) after vaccine administration are rendered ineffective in case of vitamin A deficiency. [5]
  2. Measles: If vitamin A is not supplemented during this infection, it can lead to measles-related complications such as sub-acute sclerosing pan encephalitis (SSPE). [6]
  3. HIV transmission: Vitamin A deficiency leads to vaginal shedding of HIV 1 cells as it leads to mucosal changes. [7]

• Urology

Nephrolithiasis: The epithelial integrity of the tubules is affected in vitamin A deficiency. [8]

• Otorhinolaryngology

Vestibular end-organs in inner ear: Vitamin A deficiency leads to morphological changes as it forms an important structural and functional part of these organs. [9]

• Rheumatology

Fibromyalgia: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been found to play a significant role in disease pathology of fibromyalgia, and vitamin A helps to neutralize these free radicals by virtue of its anti-oxidative potential. [10]

• Oncology

  1. Acute myeloid leukemia: Vitamin A helps in the differentiation of lymphocytes leading to their maturation. This helps in treating AML where all trans-retinoic acid (Vitamin A derivative) is used to treat M3 category of AML. Vitamin A promotes the growth of myeloblasts (immature form) to myelocytes (mature form) lessening the tumor burden. [11]
  2. Breast cancer: Its role in preventing breast cancer has also been established. [12]

Thus, the role of Vitamin A in preventing and treating systemic diseases cannot be ignored, especially because of the large prevalence of these diseases. Its use as a neutraceutical needs more research.

  References Top

1.Chander A, Chopra R, Batra N. Vitamin A deficiency: An Eye Sore. Journal Med Nutr Nutraceut 2013;2:41-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Allie SR, Zhang W, Tsai CY, Noelle RJ, Usherwood EJ. Critical role for all-trans retinoic acid for optimal effector and effector memory CD8 T cell differentiation. J Immunol 2013;190:2178-87.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Mier-Cabrera J, Aburto-Soto T, Burrola-Méndez S, Jiménez-Zamudio L, Tolentino MC, Casanueva E, et al. Women with endometriosis improved their peripheral antioxidant markers after the application of a high antioxidant diet. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2009;7:54.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Kang SG, Wang C, Matsumoto S, Kim CH. High and low vitamin A therapies induce distinct FoxP3+T-cell subsets and effectively control intestinal inflammation. Gastroenterology 2009;137:1391-402.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Surman SL, Rudraraju R, Sealy R, Jones B, Hurwitz JL. Vitamin A deficiency disrupts vaccine-induced antibody-forming cells and the balance of IgA/IgG isotypes in the upper and lower respiratory tract. Viral Immunol 2012;25:341-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Melenotte C, Brouqui P, Botelho-Nevers E. Severe measles, vitamin A deficiency, and the Roma community in Europe. Emerg Infect Dis 2012;18:1537-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Mostad SB, Overbaugh J, DeVange DM, Welch MJ, Chohan B, Mandaliya K, et al. Hormonal contraception, vitamin A deficiency, and other risk factors for shedding of HIV-1 infected cells from the cervix and vagina. Lancet 1997;350:922-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Sakly R, Fekih M, Ben Amor A, Najjar MF, Mbazaa M. Possible role of vitamin A and E deficiency in human idiopathic lithiasis. Ann Urol (Paris) 2003;37:217-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Romand R, Krezel W, Beraneck M, Cammas L, Fraulob V, Messaddeq N, et al. Retinoic acid deficiency impairs the vestibular function. J Neurosci 2013;33:5856-66.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Akkuþ S, Naziroðlu M, Eriþ S, Yalman K, Yilmaz N, Yener M. Levels of lipid peroxidation, nitric oxide, and antioxidant vitamins in plasma of patients with fibromyalgia. Cell Biochem Funct 2009;27:181-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Zhang H, Mi JQ, Fang H, Wang Z, Wang C, Wu L, et al. Preferential eradication of acute myelogenous leukemia stem cells by fenretinide. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013;110:5606-11.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Sun SY, Lotan R. Retinoids and their receptors in cancer development and chemoprevention. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2002;41:41-55.  Back to cited text no. 12


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