Vitamin A deficiency aggravates rotavirus infection in CD-1 mice through extensive involvement of the gut

Ram Reifen*, Amit Mor, Abraham Nyska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Rotavirus (RV) is one of the leading causes of life-threatening viral gastroenteritis in infants and animals. More than 100 million children live in endemic areas where they are at risk of rotavirus infection. In the western world, rotavirus is usually a self-limiting disease that involves no major sequelae; however, in the developing world it often leads to morbidity and mortality. One of the major components influencing the prognosis of rotavirus-infected children is their nutritional status. The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in developing countries, where RV infection can be fatal, encompasses up to 40% of preschool children. We hypothesized, therefore, that vitamin A deficiency in an animal model would aggravate the course of rotavirus disease. CD-1 mice were infected with RV and fed either vitamin A-sufficient or vitamin A-deficient diets. Histological components of the small intestine and colon, stool samples from which rotavirus was recovered, and vitamin A levels were examined. Flattening of the villi along the duodenum was observed in both rotavirus-infected and non-infected vitamin A-deficient mice. Maximal effect was obtained with a combination of vitamin A deficiency and RV infection. The colon of vitamin A-deficient, infected mice displayed a significantly (p < 0.05) smaller glandular area and higher level of mucin, and viral excretion in the stool became significantly (p < 0.01) increased and lasted longer than in controls. We conclude that vitamin A deficiency aggravates the course of RV infection through both small intestinal and colonic damage.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)355-361
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Rotavirus infection
  • Small intestinal and colonic damage
  • Vitamin A deficiency


Dive into the research topics of 'Vitamin A deficiency aggravates rotavirus infection in CD-1 mice through extensive involvement of the gut'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this