, Volume 152, Issue 2, pp 120-124

The immune response in iron-deficient young children: Effect of iron supplementation on cell-mediated immunity

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The effects of iron deficiency on immunity remain controversial. This study was designed to assess the impact of iron supplementation on the immune status, in 81 children aged 6 months–3 years, at high risk for iron deficiency, using a longitudinal double blind randomised and placebo-controlled study. Lymphocytes of iron-deficient children produced less interleukin-2 in vitro. Iron supplementation for 2 months increased mean corpuscular volume, serum ferritin and serum transferrin, but had no effect on the parameters of T-cell mediated immunity. The lower interleukin-2 levels in iron-deficient suggest that cell-mediated immunity may be impaired in iron deficiency.

This work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Research and Technology (Aliment 2002, 90G0268), and by a grant from the Guigoz Corporation