We have previously shown that vitamin A deficiency severely impairs the young rat's ability to produce specific antibodies after primary immunization with tetanus toxoid (TT). In the present studies, we asked whether immunologic memory to TT is established even in the vitamin A-depleted animal, and if so, whether such memory can be elicited after subsequent repletion with retinol. Vitamin A-depleted rats produced very low concentrations of TT-specific IgM and IgG antibodies in both the primary and secondary responses; however, the ratios of secondary to primary IgM anti-TT and of IgG anti-TT were normal. When rats were repleted with retinol 1 day after immunization, IgM and IgG anti-TT concentrations in both the primary and secondary responses were at least as great as those of control rats. For rats repleted with retinol 2 days before the booster immunization, secondary IgM and IgG anti-TT concentrations were equal in magnitude to those of vitamin A-sufficient controls. For all groups, the kinetics of the antibody response were similar. We conclude that immunological memory is intact in the vitamin A-depleted animal, as shown by 1) the normal ratio of its secondary to primary antibody responses, 2) the restoration of a quantitatively normal secondary antibody response in previously vitamin A-depleted animals repleted with retinol just before boosting with TT, and 3) a normal class switch from IgM to IgG. Retinol deficiency is also characterized by an abnormal elevation of total plasma IgG, despite the inability of the vitamin A-depleted animal to produce normal quantities of specific antibodies after challenge with antigen.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology