Vitamin E supplementation enhances cell-mediated immunity in healthy elderly subjects

S. N. Meydani, M. P. Barklund, S. Liu, M. Meydani, R. A. Miller, Joseph Gerard Cannon, F. D. Morrow, R. Rocklin, J. B. Blumberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

508 Scopus citations


The effect of vitamin E supplementation on the immune response of healthy older adults was studied in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Subjects (n = 32) resided in a metabolic research unit and received placebo or vitamin E (800 mg dl-α-tocopheryl acetate) for 30 d. Alpha-tocopherol content of plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), delayed-type hypersensitivity skin test (DTH), mitogen-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation, as well as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-2, prostaglandin (PG) E2, and serum lipid peroxides were evaluated before and after treatment. In the vitamin E-supplemented group 1) α-tocopherol content was significantly higher (p < 0.0001) in plasma and PBMCs, 2) cumulative diameter and number of positive antigen responses in DTH response were elevated (p < 0.05), 3) IL-2 production and mitogenic response to optimal doses of concanavalin A were increased (p < 0.05), and 4) PGE2 synthesis by PBMCs (p < 0.005) and plasma lipid peroxides (p < 0.001) were reduced. Short-term vitamin E supplementation improves immune responsiveness in healthy elderly individuals; this effect appears to be mediated by a decrease in PGE2 and/or other lipid-peroxidation products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1990


  • Aging
  • Immune response
  • Prostaglandin
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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