Previously, we demonstrated an enhancement of in vitro antibody (Ab) production in response to T-dependent antigens (TD-Ag) by astaxanthin, a carotenoid without vitamin A activity. The effects of β-carotene, a carotenoid with vitamin A activity, and lutein, another carotenoid without vitamin A activity, on in vitro Ab production were examined with spleen cells from young and old B6 mice. In addition, the in vivo effects of lutein, astaxanthin, and β-carotene on Ab production were studied in young and old B6 mice. Lutein, but not β-carotene, enhanced in vitro Ab production in response to TD-Ags. The depletion of T-helper cells prevented the enhancement of Ab production by lutein and astaxanthin. In vivo Ab production in response to TD-Ag was significantly enhanced by lutein, astaxanthin, and β-carotene. The numbers of immunoglobulin M-and G-secreting cells also increased in vivo with the administration of these carotenoids when mice were primed with TD-Ags. Antibody production in response to TD-Ags in vivo and in vitro was significantly lower in old than in young B6 mice. Astaxanthin supplements partially restored decreased in vivo Ab production in response to TD-Ags in old B6 mice. Lutein and p-carotene also enhanced in vivo Ab production in response to TD-Ags in old B6 mice, although to a lesser extent than did astaxanthin. However, none of the carotenoids had an effect on in vivo or in vitro Ab production in response to T-independent antigen. These results indicate significant immunomodulating actions of carotenoids for humoral immune responses to TD-Ags and suggest that carotenoid supplementation may be beneficial in restoring humoral immune responses in older animals. (Nutr Cancer 21, 47–58, 1994).