A study of leucocyte response to infection, polymorphonuclear leucocyte chemotaxis and bactericidal activity, and nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) reduction in children with kwashiorkor was undertaken and compared with a control group. The results show that total leucocyte counts were depressed in children with kwashiorkor, and lymphopenia was not infrequent. NBT reduction was normal. Abnormal polymorphonuclear leucocyte chemotaxis and bactericidal activity, though frequently found in children with kwashiorkor, was shown to be dependent on infection and not on protein depletion per se. Therefore, apart from some impairment of leucocyte mobilization in the presence of infection, the qualtiy of polymorphonuclear function, as determined by the above techniques, appears to be normal in kwashiorkor.
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