Vitamin A deficient hosts become non-symptomatic reservoirs of Escherichia coli-like enteric infections.
Infect Immun. 2015 May 11. Epub 2015 May 11. PMID: 25964475
Kaitlin L McDaniel
Vitamin A deficiency (A-) remains a public health concern in developing countries and is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. Citrobacter rodentium was used to model human Escherichia coli infections. A- mice developed a severe and lethal (40%) infection. Vitamin A sufficient (A+) mice survived and cleared the infection by d25. Retinoic acid treatment of A- mice at the peak of the infection eliminated C. rodentium within 16d. Inflammation was not different in A+ and A- colons although the A- mice were still infected at d37. Increased mortality of A- mice was not due to systemic cytokine production, an inability to clear systemic C. rodentium or increased pathogenicity. Instead A- mice developed a severe gut infection with most of the A- mice surviving and resolving inflammation but not eliminating the infection. Improvements in vitamin A status might decrease susceptibility to enteric pathogens and eliminate potential carriers from spreading infection to susceptible populations.