The role of retinoic acid in the production of immunoglobulin A

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Vitamin A and its derivative retinoic acid (RA) play important roles in the regulation of mucosal immunity. The effect of vitamin A metabolism on T lymphocyte immunity has been well documented, but its role in mucosal B lymphocyte regulation is less well described. Intestinal immunoglobulin A (IgA) is key in orchestrating a balanced gut microbiota composition. Here, we describe the contribution of RA to IgA class switching in tissues including the lamina propria, mesenteric lymph nodes, Peyer’s patches and isolated lymphoid follicles. RA can either indirectly skew T cells or directly affect B cell differentiation. IgA levels in healthy individuals are under the control of the metabolism of vitamin A, providing a steady supply of RA. However, IgA levels are altered in inflammatory bowel disease patients, making control of the metabolism of vitamin A a potential therapeutic target. Thus, dietary vitamin A is a key player in regulating IgA production within the intestine, acting via multiple immunological pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-572
Number of pages11
JournalMucosal immunology
Issue number4
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

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