2012 Volume 35 Issue 4 Pages 532-538
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is commonly used as a dietary supplement and beneficial effects of it are expected. However, excess ingestion of pyridoxine has been shown to cause a severe sensory neuropathy in humans and experimental animals. We have been studying the linkage between the nervous and immune systems using a fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-induced contact hypersensitivity (CHS) mouse model. We have found that activation of transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), which is expressed on sensory neurons, enhances skin sensitization to FITC. Another feature of FITC-induced CHS is its dependence on T helper 2 (Th2) type responses. We hypothesized that the excess intake of pyridoxine may affect sensitization to FITC and influence helper T-cell polarization. We examined FITC-induced CHS in BALB/c mice fed a diet containing excess pyridoxine (120 mg/kg diet) for 3 weeks. We found that mice fed on the excess-pyridoxine diet exhibited a lower response as to FITC-induced CHS compared with ones fed on a diet with a standard pyridoxine content (6.0 mg/kg diet). Moreover, the interferon (IFN)-γ/interleukin (IL)-4 ratio produced by draining lymph node cells was significantly higher with the excess-pyridoxine diet. This suggested that the cytokine balance was shifted toward Th1 with the excess-pyridoxine diet. Consistently, Th1-dependent oxazolone-induced CHS was enhanced with the excess-pyridoxine diet. These results suggested that an excess pyridoxine intake actively influences the immune system by altering helper T cell polarization.