Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Immunol. Mar 27, 2016; 6(1): 39-59
Published online Mar 27, 2016. doi: 10.5411/wji.v6.i1.39
Essential vitamins for an effective T cell response
Ritobrata Goswami, Mark H Kaplan
Ritobrata Goswami, Institute of Life Sciences, Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad 380009, Gujarat, India
Mark H Kaplan, Department of Pediatrics, Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN 46224, United States
Author contributions: Goswami R and Kaplan MH wrote the paper.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Authors declare no conflict of interest for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Ritobrata Goswami, PhD, Institute of Life Sciences, Ahmedabad University, University Road, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad 380009, Gujarat, India.
Telephone: +91-79-26302414-18106 Fax: +91-79-26302419
Received: July 8, 2015
Peer-review started: July 14, 2015
First decision: September 22, 2015
Revised: October 24, 2015
Accepted: November 23, 2015
Article in press: November 25, 2015
Published online: March 27, 2016
Processing time: 263 Days and 9.8 Hours

Effective adaptive immune responses rely upon appropriate activation of T cells by antigenic peptide-major histocompatibility complex on the surface of antigen presenting cells (APCs). Activation relies on additional signals including co-stimulatory molecules on the surface of the APCs that promote T cell expansion. The immune response is further sculpted by the cytokine environment. However, T cells also respond to other environmental signals including hormones, neurotransmitters, and vitamins. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms through which vitamins A and D impact immune responses, particularly in the context of T cell responses.

Keywords: Vitamin D, Retinoic acid, T helper cells, Cytokines, Transcription factors, Allergy, Autoimmune diseases

Core tip: Vitamins are organic compounds that are required in small quantities as nutrients. When used as dietary supplements, vitamins can be used to treat diseases and maintain physiological processes including bone and skin health. Vitamins also play important roles in immune system including lymphocyte activation, and T helper cell differentiation. Among all the vitamins, vitamin A and D have garnered more interest in clinical setting. In this review we have focused on how vitamin A and D regulate adaptive immunity especially how both the vitamins modulate T cell responses. We have highlighted the mechanisms how these vitamins affect T helper cell differentiation. How these vitamins affect inflammatory disorders including allergy and autoimmune diseases have also been described in this review. The purpose of this review is to suggest the potential of dietary supplements such as vitamin A and D can be used to treat inflammatory disorders.