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Human T-cell function in experimental ascorbic acid deficiency and spontaneous scurvy



Human T-cell function in experimental ascorbic acid deficiency and spontaneous scurvy



American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 36(1): 127-130



Studies in animal models suggest that ascorbic acid deficiency impairs T-cell-mediated immunity. Five normal volunteers, hospitalized on a metabolic unit and consuming a strictly controlled diet deficient in ascorbic acid were studied after a 5-week control period of ascorbic acid supplementation (75 mg/day) and after a 9-week period of no supplementaiton. Three of the subjects were restudied after a 5-week period of ascorbic acid supplememtation after the deficient period. At the end of both control periods ascorbic acid levels in plasma ranged from 0.9 to 1.3 mg/dl and in leukocytes from 19 to 30 micrograms/10 (8th power) cells. At the end of the deficient period levels of ascorbic acid in plasma ranged fro 0.09 to 0.15 mg/dl and in leukocytes from 6.2 to 10 micrograms/10 (8th power) cells, levels at or below those frequently found in frank scurvy. None of the T-cell parameters tested including mitogen responsiveness to phytohemagglutinin and percentage of T-cells bearing receptors of IgM (helper cells) and IgG (suppressor cells) was different in the deficient period compared to the control periods. One patient with spontaneous scurvy (plasma ascorbic acid 0.07 mg/dl, leukocyte ascorbic acid 4.9 micrograms/10 (8th power) cells was studied at the time of admission and after vigorous ascorbic acid repletion. All T-cell parameters after repletion were unchanged from admission. We conclude that in man ascorbic acid deficiency, even at the scorbutic level, does not alter T-cell numbers or impair in vitro T-cell function. (author/kbc)

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Accession: 001085876

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PMID: 6979920



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