Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

Vitamin A deficiency exacerbates inflammation in a rat model of colitis through activation of nuclear factor-kappaB and collagen formation.

Reifen R, Nur T, Ghebremeskel K, Zaiger G, Urizky R, Pines M. (2002) J Nutr.  132(9) 2743-7. 

Web URL: View the full text of this paper here


Inflammatory bowel disease is characterized by oxidative stress, inflammation and tissue damage. Vitamin A is an antioxidant, a regulator of epithelial proliferation and differentiation and vital for optimal immune function. To investigate the effect of vitamin A on the course of colitis, it was induced by administration of trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) into the colons of rats fed for 7 wk vitamin A-deficient (VAD), sufficient (VAS) or supplemented (VASUP) diet, or VAS pair-fed (PF) to the VAD rats. Inflammation and fibrosis were examined by hematoxin and eosin, and Sirius red staining. Activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) and oxidative stress were determined by electrophoretic mobility shift and plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) and RBC Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase activity, respectively. Vitamin A deficiency in the noncolitic rats impaired food consumption and weight gain (P < 0.05) and increased plasma MDA, (P = 0.01) activity of NF-kappaB (P < 0.05) and deposition of collagen in the colon. Our data suggest that vitamin A deficiency induces colonic inflammation. Colitis is amplified by deficiency and ameliorated by supplementation of the vitamin. These findings have implications for the management of inflammatory bowel disease.