Effect of renutrition on humoral and cell-mediated immunity in severely malnourished children

D. N. McMurray, R. R. Watson, M. A. Reyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Forty-three Colombian children suffering from either kwashiorkor (21), combined protein-calorie malnutrition (11), or maramus (11) were hospitalized and provided a high protein, high calorie diet for 4 to 5 wk. Improvement in clinical and nutritional status was accompanied by significant increases in levels of serum immunoglobulins G and M and C3 complement and by significant decreases in serum immunoglobulin A concentrations, especially in infants with kwashiorkor. Skin test reactions to purified protein derivative and candidin improved during renutrition. Lymphocyte blastogenesis after stimulation in vitro with phytohemagglutinin and pokeweed mitogen increased rapidly during hospitalization. After 1 yr posttreatment, cell-mediated immune response, both in vivo and in vitro, had diminished. These results indicate that some aspects of the immune response are affected to a different degree in kwashiorkor, maramus, and combined malnutrition. Short-term nutritional rehabilitation has a differential effect on the long-term restoration of various aspects of immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2117-2126
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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