Malnutrition, the Thymolymphatic System and Immunocompetence

  • R. L. Gross
  • P. M. Newberne
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 73B)


Abundant evidence has accumulated in recent years demonstrating that adequate nutrition is essential to normal immunological function of the host. The close relationship of malnutrition, morbidity and mortality with experimental evidence of depressed immune responsiveness was initially elucidated in a number of extensive studies of children with protein-calorie malnutrition, including both Kwashiorkor and marasmus (4,7,12). Histological evidence of depleted thymus-dependent areas in lymphoid tissue correlated well with studies of cell-mediated immunity, such as skin testing, T cell rosette assay and mitogen stimulation. These parameters appeared to reflect impairment secondary to nutritional deficiency because delayed hypersensitivity returned, to normal in a significant number of patients after dietary protein supplements. These cases however, represented far-advanced and severe nutritional deficiencies not permitting the assessment of the possible contribution of concomitant nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin A, iron and folic acid.


Iron Deficiency Anemia Folate Deficiency Megaloblastic Anemia Total Iron Binding Capacity Deficient Animal 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Gross
    • 1
  • P. M. Newberne
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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