Lymphocyte proliferation and apoptosis in HIV-seropositive and healthy subjects during long-term ingestion of fruit juices or a fruit-vegetable-concentrate rich in polyphenols and antioxidant vitamins

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Feb;58(2):317-25. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601784.


Objective: We investigated whether ingestion of polyphenols from fruit juices or a fruit-vegetable-concentrate affects lymphocyte proliferation and apoptosis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seropositive (HIV(+)) and HIV-seronegative (HIV(-)) subjects.

Design: Randomized, prospective pilot intervention study.

Setting: University of Bonn, Department of General Internal Medicine.

Subjects: A total of 23 HIV(+) subjects from the HIV outpatient clinic, 18 HIV(-) controls.

Interventions: Subjects ingested either 1 l of fruit juice or 30 ml of fruit-vegetable-concentrate daily for 16 weeks in addition to their regular diet. Lymphocyte proliferation and apoptosis were investigated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells at baseline, during 16-weeks of intervention, and after a 6-week washout. Proliferation was assessed by (3)H-thymidine incorporation and apoptosis by nuclear content as measured by flow cytometry.

Results: Supplementation of fruit juices increased phytohemagglutinin-induced lymphocyte proliferation (mitotic index) in HIV(+) patients from 18+/-16 to 40+/-34 (P=0.004) and in healthy controls from 27+/-16 to 51+/-21 (P=0.016). Apoptosis was not affected in HIV(+) patients, but rose in healthy controls from 9+/-10 to 34+/-11 (apoptotic index; P=0.001). Intervention with concentrate did not significantly alter proliferation and apoptosis in HIV(+) and HIV(-) subjects.

Conclusions: Even though apoptosis did not change in HIV(+) subjects, ingestion of polyphenol-rich fruit juices might be favorable to HIV(+) patients due to enhanced proliferation, which could restore disturbances in T-cell homeostasis. In healthy controls, increased lymphocyte proliferation during juice consumption was counterbalanced by increased apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Beverages / analysis
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Diet Records
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Germany
  • HIV Seropositivity / blood*
  • HIV Seropositivity / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenols / administration & dosage
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polyphenols
  • Time
  • Vegetables / chemistry*
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols
  • Vitamins