The phagocytosis and killing ability of leucocytes of 24 term and 22 preterm babies against Candida albicans were studies during the first 20 days of life because of the increased incidence of monilia infection at this time. The leucocytes of 14 adults aged 20 to 30 years served as controls. The phagocytosis ability of the leucocytes in adults, term, and preterm babies was not significantly different, mean values being respectively 66-7%, 57%, and 56-9%. The killing ability of the leycocytes in term and preterm babies was lower when compared with that of adult leucocytes (P less than 0-001 for term and P less than 0-01 for preterm infants). The mean value in adults was 27-5%, in term infants 9-7%, and in preterm infants 9-5%. It is suggested that as the addition of adult serum did not improve the candidacidal ability of newborn leucocytes, the killing defect should be sought in the leucocyte itself and not in serum factors.
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