Elevated IgE level in relationship to nutritional status and immune parameters in early human immunodeficiency virus-1 disease

Gail Shor-Posner, Maria Jose Miguez-Burbano, Ying Lu, Daniel Feaster, Mary Ann Fletcher, Howerde Sauberlich, Marianna K. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Elevation of IgE has been associated with T-cell dysregulation and with the occurrence of opportunistic infections in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The precise cause of IgE overproduction during the early stages of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 disease, however, has not been established. In light of reports demonstrating that IgE production may be affected by vitamin E levels in an animal model, we evaluated nutritional status in relationship to plasma IgE levels and immune parameters in 100 asymptomatic HIV-1-seropositive and 42 HIV-1-seronegative homosexual men. Approximately 18% of the HIV-1-seropositive population demonstrated biochemical evidence of plasma vitamin E deficiency (<5 μg/ml). Subsequent analysis of available samples indicated a dramatic elevation of IgE levels (308 ± 112 FU/ml) in vitamin E-deficient seropositive subjects fn = 9) as compared with age and CD4-matched HIV-1-seropositive persons with adequate vitamin E levels (n = 16, 118.1 ± 41.1 IU/ml) and significantly lower levels (59.5 ± 15.7 IU/ml) in HIV-1-seronegative men (n = 20, p = 0.01). This effect, which was independent of CD4 cell count, did not appear to be influenced by atopic or gastrointestinal parasitic disease. The low plasma vitamin E levels were related at least in part to dietary intake (r = 0.552, p = 0.01), suggesting that supplementation may be warranted in HIV-1-infected persons in whom vitamin E deficiency develops. Analysis of covariance revealed a strong relationship between IgE levels and CDS cell counts (p < 0.006), and between IgE level and vitamin E deficiency (p < 0.039). Although nutritional deficiency is unlikely to be the principal cause of immunoglobulin dysregulation in HIV infection, these results demonstrate that vitamin E deficiency may play a contributory role in IgE elevation during the early stages of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-892
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995


  • Human immunodeficiency virus-1 infection
  • IgE
  • Nutritional status
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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