The local immune system of children suffering protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM) was investigated by analyzing the amount of immunoglobulins in the nasal washing on admission, repeatedly during 84 days of hospital therapy, and on follow-up, one to two years later. Although measured concentrations of total protein, IgG, and albumin in nasal washings were reduced in children with PCM, only secretory IgA concentrations were significantly lower (P<. 0l) in PCM compared to normal children. Mean secretory IgA concentrations were significantly reduced on admission through hospital day 70 and returned to near normal thereafter. At one to two years after hospital discharge, mean concentrations of secretory IgA in nasal secretions were within normal limits. The concentrations of secretory IgA in nasal washings were lowest at a time when serum IgA was markedly elevated; serum IgA concentrations fell to normal values during dietary treatment. The possible role of secretory IgA deficiency in PCM and infection is discussed.
- Received April 2, 1974.
- Accepted August 14, 1974.
- Copyright © 1975 by the American Academy of Pediatrics