Reduction of Lymphocyte Subset Counts Involving Viral Defence After a Weight Loss Program Including Anti-Obesity Agents in Obese Women: A Non-Randomized Controlled Trial

Mahsa Mehrdad1, Mahmoud Mahmoudi2, Mohsen Nematy3, Mohammad Safarian3, Majid Ghayour Mobarhan3, Abdolreza Norouzy3, *
1 School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
2 Bu-Ali Research Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
3 Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran



Obesity could impair immunity, while the role of weight loss in reversing this impairment is not clear.


We aimed to investigate the effects of weight loss induced by a weight loss program including anti-obesity medications on lymphocyte subsets count (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD19, and CD16/56) in obese premenopausal women.


This non-randomized controlled trial was conducted on 30 participants. Body composition, serum zinc and iron status, and lymphocyte subpopulations count were measured before and after the intervention. The experimental group was prescribed with a low-calorie diet, lipase inhibitor (orlistat120 mg), soluble fiber (5g), and moderate physical activity until 10-15% weight loss. The control group adhered adlibitum diet. Data were analyzed and compared between two groups.


After the intervention, CD16/56+natural killer cells and CD3+T cells decreased significantly in the experimental group (P=0.02 and P=0.001, respectively), while no significant changes were observed in other lymphocyte subsets count. Moreover, serum zinc and iron reduced significantly while remaining within the normal range (P<0.001 and P=0.03, respectively). Viral infection symptoms were reported by seven participants in the experimental group.


weight loss induced by a balanced low-calorie diet, moderate physical activity, and anti-obesity medications might interfere with the antiviral immune function. Further clinical trials are suggested.

Keywords: Lymphocytes, Weight loss, Viral diseases, Immunity, Anti-obesity agents, Orlistat.

Abstract Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 8
Publisher Item Identifier: EA-TOOBESJ-2018-4

Article History:

Received Date: 26/3/2018
Revision Received Date: 8/8/2018
Acceptance Date: 25/9/2018
Electronic publication date: 11/10/2018
Collection year: 2018

© 2018 Mehrdad et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Correspondence: Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Nutrition, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran; Tel: 09127126991; E-mail: