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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2009 Jan;24(1):19-25. doi: 10.1007/s00384-008-0578-x. Epub 2008 Sep 17.

Positive impact of blocking tumor necrosis factor alpha on the nutritional status in pediatric Crohn's disease patients.

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  • 1Gastroenterology and Nutrition Unit, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Piazza S. Onofrio, 4-00165, Rome, Italy.



TNFalpha seems to contribute to inflammation and malnutrition in Crohn's disease (CD) patients. In CD patients, the comparative effects on nutritional status of infliximab and traditional therapy have not yet been determined. The aim of our study was to assess the effects of infliximab as compared with those of standard therapy on nutritional status, disease activity, resting energy expenditure (REE), and food intake in CD children and adolescents.


From September 1999 to September 2005, all CD patients treated with infliximab (group A) were reviewed and matched with CD patients treated with traditional therapy (mesalazine and azathioprine) (group B).


Fourteen CD patients from group A and 14 from group B were included; median interval before follow-up investigation was 10 months. Baseline and final values of weight, height, body mass index (BMI), pediatric CD activity index (pCDAI), REE, and food intake were studied. In treated patients, but not in control group, mean baseline weight (kg) and BMI values, 39.7 +/- 13.1 and 17.9 +/- 3.3, respectively, were significantly lower than their final values 42.6 +/- 13.2 and 18.9 +/- 3.1, and median pCDAI values 23.5 were significantly higher than their final values 10 (P < 0.05). Significant changes in height, REE, and food intake were not found in either group.


In pediatric CD patients, infliximab seems to impact positively on the nutritional status as demonstrated by the improvement in weight and BMI, but not in linear growth; effects on nutritional status seem to be due to amelioration of disease activity, rather than to REE reduction or food intake increase.

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