The secretory IgA system was investigated in children with protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM). The results of the study indicated that in children suffering from kwashiorkor and marasmus the concentration of IgA in duodenal fluid, saliva, nasal secretions, and tears was significantly reduced on admission and returned to normal 4 weeks after treatment. However, the concentration of secretory IgA in children with mild to moderate PCM was similar to that of normal children. Secretory IgA deficiency may be an important factor in promoting bacterial growth and this may account for the increased incidence and severity of mucosal infections in children with severe PCM.
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