Prog Food Nutr Sci 1991;15(1-2):43-60
Folate status and the immune system.
Dhur A, Galan P, Hercberg S
Centre de Recherche sur les Anemies Nutritionnelles, Institut Scientifique et
Technique de l’Alimentation, CNAM, Paris, France.
Folic acid plays a crucial role in DNA and protein synthesis, suggesting that
every mechanism in which cell proliferation intervenes may be altered.
Cell-mediated immunity is especially affected by folate deficiency: the
blastogenic response of T lymphocytes to certain mitogens is decreased in
folate-deficient humans and animals, and the thymus is preferentially altered.
The effects of folic acid deficiency upon humoral immunity have been more
thoroughly investigated in animals than in humans, and the antibody responses
to several antigens have been shown to decrease. Conversely, the phagocytic and
bactericidal capacities of polymorphonuclear cells (a type of white blood cell) have been studied mainly in folate-deficient humans. However results in this field are controversial. Alterations in immune system functions could lead to decreased resistance to infections, as commonly observed in folate-deficient humans and animals.