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Gonzalez-Torres C.,Health Science University | Gonzalez-Martnez H.,Health Science University | Miliar A.,National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico | Najera O.,Autonomus Metropolitan University Xochimilco | And 5 more authors.
Nutrients | Year: 2013

Malnutrition is a common cause of secondary immune deficiency and has been linked to an increased susceptibility to infection in humans. Malnutrition specifically affects T-cell-mediated immune responses. The aim of this study was to assess in lymphocytes from malnourished children the expression levels of IL-12, IL-18 and IL-21, molecules that induce the differentiation of T cells related to the immunological cellular response (Th1 response) and the production of cytokines related to the immunological cellular response (Th1 cytokines). We found that the expression levels of IL-12, IL-18 and IL-21 were significantly diminished in malnourished children compared to well-nourished children and were coincident with lower plasmatic levels of IL-2 and IFN-γ (Th1 cytokines). In this study, we show for the first time that the gene expression and intracellular production of cytokines responsible for Th1 cell differentiation (IL-12, IL-18 and IL-21) are diminished in malnourished children. As expected, this finding was related to lower plasmatic levels of IL-2 and IFN-γ. The decreased expression of Th1 cytokines observed in this study may contribute to the deterioration of the immunological Type 1 (cellular) response. We hypothesize that the decreased production of IL-12, IL-18 and IL-21 in malnourished children contributes to their inability to eradicate infections. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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