Dietary effect of tocopherols and tocotrienols on the immune function of spleen and mesenteric lymph node lymphocytes in Brown Norway rats

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1999 Oct;63(10):1697-702. doi: 10.1271/bbb.63.1697.


The immunoregulatory effects of dietary alpha-tocopherol (Toc) and tocotrienols (T-3) on humoral and cell-mediated immunity and cytokine productions were examined in Brown Norway rats. We found that the IgA and IgG productivity of spleen and mesenteric lymph node (MLN) lymphocytes was significantly enhanced in the rats fed on Toc or T-3, irrespective of concanavalin A (Con A) stimulation of the lymphocytes. On the contrary, the IgE productivity of lymphocytes from the rats fed on Toc or T-3 was less without Con A stimulation, but was greater in the presence of Con A, especially in the T-3 group. Toc or T-3 feeding significantly decreased the proportion of CD4+ T cells and the ratio of CD4+/CD8+ in both spleen and MLN lymphocytes of the rats fed on Toc or T-3. The interferon-gamma productivity of MLN lymphocytes was higher in the rats fed on Toc or T-3 than in those fed on a control diet in the presence of Con A, while that of spleen lymphocytes was lower in the rats fed on Toc or T-3. In addition, T-3 feeding decreased the productivity of tumor necrosis factor-alpha of spleen lymphocytes, while it enhanced the productivity of MLN lymphocytes. These results suggest that oral administration of Toc and T-3 affects the proliferation and function of spleen and MLN lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Concanavalin A / pharmacology
  • Diet
  • Dinoprostone / blood
  • Immunoglobulins / biosynthesis
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Lymph Nodes / drug effects*
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Male
  • Peroxides / blood
  • Rats
  • Spleen / drug effects*
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Peroxides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Concanavalin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Dinoprostone