In contrast to the extensive studies of the effects of vitamin E on immune function in the elderly, there have been neither many nor recent studies of the effects of vitamin C, a critical water-soluble antioxidant which functions to regenerate the antioxidant form of vitamin E (Niki et al., 1995). In one study, DTH was enhanced in an elderly population following injections of 500 mg day-1 of vitamin C (Kennes et al., 1983). In another study, oral supplementation with vitamin C (2 g day-1) in an elderly population enhanced in vitro lymphocyte proliferative responses but did not affect DTH (Delafuente et al., 1986). Jeng et al. (1996) examined the interactions of vitamins C and E on cytokine production in healthy adults. Vitamin C (1 g day-1) did not increase either IL1-p or tumour necrosis factor production following 14 days of supplementation whereas vitamin E (400 IU day-1) significantly enhanced both; the combination of both supplements resulted in a further, significant enhancement in production of these cytokines, suggesting a synergistic action on immune functions which had been reported previously in an animal model (Bendich et al., 1984).
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