Effect of β-carotene on lymphocyte subpopulations in elderly humans: Evidence for a dose-response relationship

Ronald R. Watson, Rao H. Prabhala, Patricia M. Plezia, David S. Alberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

128 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of various doses (0, 15, 30, 45, and 60 mg/d) of supplementary β-carotene were evaluated. The percentage of lymphoid cells with surface markers for T-helper and natural killer (NK) cells and cells with interleukin 2 (IL-2) and transferrin receptors were significantly and substantially increased in peripheral blood mononuclear cells collected from older human adult volunteers after supplementation with ≥ 30 mg β-carotene/d for 2 mo. The increase in the percentage of cells with markers of NK cells and in expression of IL-2 receptors was dose dependent. The plasma concentrations of β-carotene were also elevated significantly; however, there was no increase in the amount of retinol present in plasma. This indicated that immunomodulation induced by β-carotene may be due to the carotenoid rather than to an increased amount, and hence actions, of vitamin A. These results support the role of immunostimulation as a potential mechanism of action of β-carotene with cancer-prevention potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-94
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume53
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1991

Keywords

  • Beta-carotene
  • Interleukin 2 receptors
  • Natural killer cells
  • Plasma concentrations
  • Retinol
  • T lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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