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Vitamin A and Immune Specificity

Thursday, 22 October 2015 by

eji201570050-gra-0001Homeostasis — literally ‘standing still’ — describes the mechanisms by which all biological systems maintain stability. In effect this is the position at which human health is maintained and may also be described as a homeostatic set point, in which as circumstances change so does the set point. In simple parlance the idea that someone may be in a stable state of homeostasis but one that induces illness is a concept still developing. In effect all illness generates a change in homeostasis but not all changes in homeostasis results in illness.

In January 2011 a very interesting paper was published in Physiological Reviews, exploring the role of gastrointestinal permeability, genetics and risk of development of autoimmune diseases.[1]

This abstract explores some of the principle messages in the paper which is also available as a full free text.

It is generally accepted that it is the interplay between environmental factors and specific susceptibility genes that underlies the aberrant immune response responsible for the onset of these diseases. Less than 10% of those with increased genetic susceptibility progress to clinical disease, suggesting a strong environmental trigger in the predisease state.

Michael Ash looks at leaky gut with a contemporary approach to investigation, relevance and restoration. It is quite clear that in order to extract nutrients and other sentinel information carrying agents the barrier that divides the contents of the gastric lumen from the host must be permeable. The question that has interested clinicians for many years is – when is it too permeable and what does that mean in terms of health and illness.

A paper in the March edition of Mucosal Immunology explores this concept in some detail and delivers some much needed information and potential direction in terms of dietary management and risk.[1]

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