Vitamin A (VA, retinol) has long been considered important for the maintenance of the immune system, but its role in antibody production is still being uncovered. Antibody production, the hallmark of a successful response to vaccination is, indeed, the only proven mechanism which vaccines protect against infectious disease (Beverley, 2002; Del Giudice, 2003). This chapter focuses on studies, in the past decade, on the effects of providing VA or its active metabolite, retinoic acid (RA), during the inductive phase of the antibody response in vivo. After discussing the rationale for the topics selected, the chapter then considers: (1) the effect of VA supplementation on the response to immunization in children, (2) experimental studies addressing mechanisms by which VA and/or RA may affect antibody production in vivo, (3) innate immune cells and factors regulated by VA and RA that may affect immunization outcome, and is followed by (4) a discussion of factors that may account for differences observed in human and animal studies of VA supplementation and the response to immunization. Other reviews have addressed VA deficiency and infection, and morbidity and mortality outcomes in VA supplementation studies (Semba, 2000; Stephensen, 2001; Villamor and Fawzi, 2005).

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