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Eur J Pediatr. 1993 Feb;152(2):120-4.

The immune response in iron-deficient young children: effect of iron supplementation on cell-mediated immunity.

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Institut Scientifique et Technique de la Nutrition et de l'Alimentation, CNAM, Paris, France.


The effects of iron deficiency on immunity remain controversial. This study was designed to assess the impact of iron supplementation on the immune status, in 81 children aged 6 months-3 years, at high risk for iron deficiency, using a longitudinal double blind randomised and placebo-controlled study. Lymphocytes of iron-deficient children produced less interleukin-2 in vitro. Iron supplementation for 2 months increased mean corpuscular volume, serum ferritin and serum transferrin, but had no effect on the parameters of T-cell mediated immunity. The lower interleukin-2 levels in iron-deficient suggest that cell-mediated immunity may be impaired in iron deficiency.

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