Cellular and Molecular Basis of Nutrition-Immunity Interactions

  • Ranjit Kumar Chandra
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 262)


It is now established that nutrition is a critical determinant of immunocompetence and risk of illness. Young children with protein-energy malnutrition exhibit increased mortality and morbidity, due largely to infectious disease. Recent work has demonstrated that undernourished individuals have impaired immune responses. The most consistent abnormalities are seen in cell-mediated immunity, complement system, phagocytes, mucosal secretory antibody response, and antibody affinity. These changes, together with other handicapping factors observed in underprivileged societies, lead to more infections, which in turn produce physiological changes that worsen nutritional status. It is now established that deficiencies of single nutrients also impair immune responses. The best studied are zinc, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin A, copper, and selenium. If malnutrition occurs during fetal life, as epitomized by small-for-gestational age infants, the effects on cell-mediated immunity are very significant and long lasting. There is much recent evidence to suggest that at the other end of the age spectrum, namely in old age, nutrition plays an important role in maintenance of optimum immunity. These interactions of nutrition and immunity have several practical applications. In this interpretative review, a summary of current findings is given.


Migration Inhibition Factor Nutritional Deficiency Lymphocyte Proliferation Response Cutaneous Hypersensitivity Laboratory Animal Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beisel, W. R., 1982, Single nutrients and immunity, Am. J. Clin Nutr., 35:417.Google Scholar
  2. Bendich, A., 1988, Antioxidant vitamins and immune responses, in: “Nutrition and Immunology,” R. K. Chandra, ed., Alan R. Liss, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Chandra, R. K., 1972, Immunoeompetence in undernutrition, J. Pediatr., 81:1194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chandra, R. K., 1983, Nutrition, immunity and infection. Present knowledge and future directions, Lancet i, 688.Google Scholar
  5. Chandra, R. K., 1985, Antibody response in first and second generation offspring of nutritionally deprived rats, Science, 190:189.Google Scholar
  6. Chandra, R. K., ed., 1985, “Nutrition, Immunity and Illness in the Elderly,” Pergamon Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Chandra, R. K., ed., 1988, “Nutrition and Immunology,” Alan R. Liss, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Chandra, R. K., 1989, Nutritional regulation of immunity and risk of infection in old age, Immunology (in press).Google Scholar
  9. Chandra, R. K., and Newberne, P. M., 1977, “Nutrition, Immunity and Infection. Mechanisms of Interactions,” Plenum Publishing Corporation, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Chandra, R. K., Joshi, P., Au, B., Woodford, G., Chandra, S., 1982, Nutrition and immunocompetence of the elderly. Effect of short-term nutritional supplementation on cell-mediated immunity and lymphocyte subsets, Nutr. Res., 2:223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Citation Classic, 1987, Immunocompetence in undernutrition, Current Contents, 30:15.Google Scholar
  12. Dinarello, C. A., and Mier, J. W., 1987, Lymphokines, New Engl. J. Med., 317:940.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hoffman-Goetz, L., 1988, Lymphokines and monokines in protein-energy malnutrition, in: “Nutrition and Immunology,” R. K. Chandra, ed. Alan R Liss, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Keusch, G., Wilson, C. S., Waksal, S. D., 1983, Nutrition, host defenses, and the lymphoid system, Arch. Host Def. Mech., 2:275.Google Scholar
  15. McMurray, D. N., 1984, Cell-mediated immunity in nutritional deficiency, Prog. Food Nutr. Sci., 8:193.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ranjit Kumar Chandra
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine Health Sciences CentreMemorial University of NewfoundlandNewfoundlandCanada

Personalised recommendations