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Original Article


Assessment of Nutritional Status: Vitamin A and Zinc in Patients With Common Variable Immunodeficiency


E Calheiro dos Santos-Valente,1 R da Silva,1,2 MI de Moraes-Pinto,1 R Oselka Saccardo Sarni,1,3 BT Costa-Carvalho1

1Federal University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo-SP, Brazil
2Federal University of Alfenas, Alfenas-MG, Brazil
3ABC University, Santo Andre-SP, Brazil

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2012; Vol. 22(6): 427-431



Background: Patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) present with low antibody levels, impaired lymphocyte function, and chronic inflammation. Vitamin A and zinc are essential components of the immune system and can be redistributed in the body as a result of inflammation.

Objective: To compare levels of retinol, ß-carotene, and zinc in patients with CVID and healthy controls after evaluating a series of parameters for each participant.

Patients and Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of CVID patients and healthy controls matched for age and gender. All participants underwent a nutritional and laboratory evaluation comprising a complete blood count and determination of levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), soluble CD14 (sCD14), retinol, ß-carotene, and serum and erythrocyte zinc.

Results: We included 17 patients (mean age, 28.54 years) and 17 controls. Mean (SD) retinol levels were lower in patients: 1.99 (0.67) μmol/L vs 2.72 (0.96) μmol/L. Median ß-carotene levels were similar in both groups (0.30 μmol/L). Median serum zinc levels were 50.0 μg/dL (50-100 μg/dL) in the patients and 100.0 μg/dL (50-150 μg/dL) in the controls. Mean levels of erythrocyte zinc were lower among patients: 37.32 (10.51) μgZn/gHb vs 44.91 (7.67) μgZn/gHb in the controls. Median CRP levels were significantly higher among patients: 4.99 (0.15-34.51) mg/L vs 0.55 (0.17-6.06) mg/L. No differences in translocation marker levels were observed between the groups.

Conclusions: CVID patients had lower levels of retinol and zinc than controls. Since micronutrient deficiency could aggravate their disease and contribute to chronic inflammation, micronutrient status should always be assessed in patients with primary immunodeficiency.

Key words: Antibody deficiency. Nutrition. Vitamin A. Zinc. Bacterial translocation.