Papers And Originals

Impaired Cellular Immunity in Kwashiorkor with Improvement after Therapy

Br Med J 1971; 4 doi: (Published 27 November 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;4:527
  1. J. Geefhuysen,
  2. E. U. Rosen,
  3. J. Katz,
  4. T. Ipp,
  5. J. Metz


    Children with kwashiorkor showed a high incidence of deranged cellular immunity as evidenced by impairment of delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity reactions to candida and diphtheria toxoid antigens and of lymphocyte transformation after phytohaemagglutinin stimulation. This may contribute to their susceptibility to infection. A correlation was shown between the degree of impairment of tests of cellular immunity and the severity of the kwashiorkor. Once recovery was initiated the skin tests gave the expected positive results and the lymphocyte transformation index improved. Protein deprivation may result in impaired deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis and in atrophy of both the thymus and the lymphoid tissue.