Assessment of nutritional status: vitamin A and zinc in patients with common variable immunodeficiency

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2012;22(6):427-31.


Background: Patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) present with low antibody levels, impaired lymphocyte function, and chronic inflammation. Vitamin A and zinc are essential components of the immune system and can be redistributed in the body as a result of inflammation.

Objective: To compare levels of retinol, beta-carotene, and zinc in patients with CVID and healthy controls after evaluating a series of parameters for each participant.

Patients and methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of CVID patients and healthy controls matched for age and gender. All participants underwent a nutritional and laboratory evaluation comprising a complete blood count and determination of levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), soluble CD14 (sCD14), retinol, beta-carotene, and serum and erythrocyte zinc.

Results: We included 17 patients (mean age, 28.54 years) and 17 controls. Mean (SD) retinol levels were lower in patients: 1.99 (0.67) micromol/L vs 2.72 (0.96) micromol/L. Median beta-carotene levels were similar in both groups (0.30 micromol/L). Median serum zinc levels were 50.0 microg/dL (50-100 microg/dL) in the patients and 100.0 microg/dL (50-150 microg/dL) in the controls. Mean levels of erythrocyte zinc were lower among patients: 37.32 (10.51) microgZn/gHb vs 44.91 (7.67) microgZn/gHb in the controls. Median CRP levels were significantly higher among patients: 4.99 (0.15-34.51) mg/L vs 0.55 (0.17-6.06) mg/L. No differences in translocation marker levels were observed between the groups.

Conclusions: CVID patients had lower levels of retinol and zinc than controls. Since micronutrient deficiency could aggravate their disease and contribute to chronic inflammation, micronutrient status should always be assessed in patients with primary immunodeficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Common Variable Immunodeficiency / diagnosis*
  • Common Variable Immunodeficiency / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / blood
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status / immunology*
  • Vitamin A / blood*
  • Young Adult
  • Zinc / metabolism*
  • beta Carotene / blood


  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin A
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Zinc