Interrelationship between vitamins and cytokines in immunity

J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. Oct-Dec 2010;24(4):385-90.


Cytokines are important proteins that modulate immunity and inflammation. Vitamins are also involved in immunity and inflammation. They are found to restore the ability of some cells to produce certain cytokines. Vitamin deficiency appears to affect the mechanism of immune cells, though the impact of reduced cytokine response in vitamin malnutrition is not clear. Vitamin D is involved in many medical conditions, such as infections and inflammation, and mediates innate immunity. Deficiency of vitamin D increases the risk of infectious and inflammatory diseases. In addition, this vitamin modulates Treg function and IL-10 production which is important for therapeutic treatment. Vitamin A increases inflammatory response and is involved in tissue damage; moreover, vitamin A is a key modulator of TGFbeta which can suppress several cytokines. Vitamin E, an anti-ageing compound, is associated with a defect of naive T cells and may inhibit some inflammatory compounds such as prostaglandin generation.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avitaminosis / immunology
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Infections / immunology
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Vitamins / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Vitamins