Depressed immune response to tetanus in children with vitamin A deficiency

R. D. Semba, Muhilal, A. L. Scott, G. Natadisastra, S. Wirasasmita, L. Mele, E. Ridwan, K. P. West, A. Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


A randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted with 236 pre-school children, age 3-6 y, in Indonesia to assess immune status in mild vitamin A deficiency. The immune response to tetanus immunization was used as a measure of immune competence. Clinically normal children (n = 118) and children with mild xerophthalmia (n = 118) were randomly assigned to receive oral vitamin A (60,000 μg retinol equivalent) or placebo treatment for a total of four study groups. Two weeks after treatment, children were immunized with diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine. The immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses to tetanus at baseline and 3 wk following immunization were measured by ELISA. After adjusting for previous tetanus immunization, clinically normal and xerophthalmic children receiving vitamin A had a significantly greater IgG response to tetanus than clinically normal and xerophthalmic children receiving placebo (P < 0.05). These results suggest that children with mild vitamin A deficiency have a relative immune depression compared with children who have been supplemented to normal vitamin A levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992


  • children
  • immunodeficiency
  • tetanus
  • vitamin A deficiency
  • xerophthalmia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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