Immune function is impaired in iron-deficient, homebound, older women

Namanjeet Ahluwalia, Jianqin Sun, Deanna Krause, Andrea Marie Mastro, Gordon Handte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Aging is often associated with a dysregulation of immune function. Iron deficiency may further impair immunity in older adults. Published reports on iron deficiency and immune response in humans are inconsistent. Most studies are focused on young children in developing countries and are often confounded by comorbid conditions, infections, and nutrient deficiencies. Objective: Our objective was to determine the relation of iron status with immune function in homebound older women, who often have impairments in both iron status and immune response. The subjects were selected according to rigorous exclusion criteria for disease, infection, and deficiencies in key nutrients known to affect immunocompetence. Design: Seventy-two homebound elderly women provided blood for comprehensive evaluation of iron status and cell-mediated and innate immunity. Women were classified as iron-deficient or iron-sufficient on the basis of multiple abnormal iron status test results. Groups were compared with respect to lymphocyte subsets, phagocytosis, oxidative burst capacity, and T cell proliferation upon stimulation with mitogens. Results: In iron-deficient women, T cell proliferation upon stimulation with concanavalin A and phytohemagglutinin A was only 40-50% of that in iron-sufficient women. Phagocytosis did not differ significantly between the 2 groups, but respiratory burst was significantly less (by 28%) in iron-deficient women than in iron-sufficient women. Conclusions: Iron deficiency is associated with impairments in cell-mediated and innate immunity and may renderolder adults more vulnerable to infections. Further prospective studies using similar exclusion criteria for disease, infection, and concomitant nutrient deficiencies are needed for simultaneous examination of the effects of iron deficiency on immune response and morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-521
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume79
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2004

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Iron
Respiratory Burst
Infection
Phagocytosis
Innate Immunity
Cellular Immunity
Food
Cell Proliferation
Deficiency Diseases
T-Lymphocytes
Immunocompetence
Lymphocyte Subsets
Phytohemagglutinins
Concanavalin A
Mitogens
Developing Countries
Immunity
Prospective Studies
Morbidity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Ahluwalia, N., Sun, J., Krause, D., Mastro, A. M., & Handte, G. (2004). Immune function is impaired in iron-deficient, homebound, older women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79(3), 516-521.
Ahluwalia, Namanjeet ; Sun, Jianqin ; Krause, Deanna ; Mastro, Andrea Marie ; Handte, Gordon. / Immune function is impaired in iron-deficient, homebound, older women. In: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004 ; Vol. 79, No. 3. pp. 516-521.
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Ahluwalia, N, Sun, J, Krause, D, Mastro, AM & Handte, G 2004, 'Immune function is impaired in iron-deficient, homebound, older women', American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 516-521.

Immune function is impaired in iron-deficient, homebound, older women. / Ahluwalia, Namanjeet; Sun, Jianqin; Krause, Deanna; Mastro, Andrea Marie; Handte, Gordon.

In: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 79, No. 3, 01.03.2004, p. 516-521.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Ahluwalia N, Sun J, Krause D, Mastro AM, Handte G. Immune function is impaired in iron-deficient, homebound, older women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004 Mar 1;79(3):516-521.