β-Carotene is a nontoxic carotenoid with immunomodulating properties in animals and humans. Based on our observations in normal immunocompetent subjects, we studied the effects of this compound in 11 patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Each subject received 60 mg of β-carotene daily for 4 mo. Clinical and laboratory studies were obtained at baseline, every month while on treatment and for 2 mo after treatment. Increases in the percent of cells expressing Leu 11 (natural killer cells), Ia antigen and transferrin receptor (activated lymphocytes) were observed after 3 mo of treatment with β-carotene and diminished thereafter. Major changes were not seen in total lymphocyte count or in the percent of cells expressing CD11, CD8 or CD4 antigens. No clinical toxicity was observed. These data suggest that β-carotene can modulate certain immune markers in HIV-infected subjects. Further study of this compound in HIV infection may be warranted.
- acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
- immune effects
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics