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AIDS Research

Vitamins and immunomodulation in AIDS.

Nutrition 1996 Jan;12(1):1-7 (ISSN: 0899-9007)

Liang B; Chung S; Araghiniknam M; Lane LC; Watson RR Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson 85724, USA.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a clinical disorder caused by a retrovirus infection and represents the end point in a progressive sequence of immunosuppressive changes. Vitamins can enhance disease resistance in animals and humans. As such they are important co-factors in optimal functioning of the immune systems. In this article, the immunological and nutritional modifications caused by AIDS are summarized. The effects of murine and human retrovirus infection on vitamin status are analyzed as co-factors in the development of severe immune dysfunction, AIDS. The properties of immunoenhancing antioxidative vitamins, vitamin A, B6, B12, C, E, and beta-carotene, which are frequently low in AIDS patients, are evaluated relative to the development of immunodeficiency during retrovirus infection. Vitamin A, E, and B12 deficiency accelerated the development of AIDS with low T cells, whereas their normalization retarded the development of immune dysfunction. The interactions between these vitamins and the immune system in human AIDS patients and animal models of AIDS are reviewed. Our purpose is to provide data on how retrovirus infection can cause nutritional deficiencies that accentuate immune damage and to evaluate the potential therapeutic role of vitamins in the treatment of immune dysfunctions in AIDS patients.

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