T lymphocytes from vitamin A-deficient (A-) mice show a decreased ability to stimulate B lymphocytes for Ag-specific secondary IgG1 responses in vivo and in vitro. Experiments reported here traced the molecular basis for this functional defect to an overproduction of IFN-gamma by A- CD4+ T cells compared with cells from A-sufficient (A+) mice. Secretion of IL-2 and IL-4 by cells from A- and A+ mice was equivalent. Retinoic acid supplementation in vitro decreased IFN-gamma secretion from A- T cells, indicating that IFN-gamma production is retinoid-responsive. Adding IFN-gamma neutralizing antibodies to cultures established with cells from immune A- mice substantially increased IgG1 production, whereas IL-4 addition moderately increased IgG1 production. Adding retinoic acid to the cultures either at initiation, or 48 h later, fully restored IgG1 production by A- cultures to the level of A+ control cultures. These results are consistent with a role for vitamin A in negatively regulating IFN-gamma secretion.

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