Zinc deficiency, depressed thymic hormones, and T lymphocyte dysfunction in patients with hypogammaglobulinemia
Zinc deficient humans and animals have depressed thymic mass and increased susceptibility to infection. In the present studies, we investigated the relationship between cellular immunity, thymic hormones, and serum zinc levels in 19 patients with common varied immunodeficiency. Five (26%) had serum zinc levels 2 SD below normal and 11 (58%) had abnormally low lymphocyte proliferation to at least one mitogen. A significant statistical correlation between zinc levels and lymphocyte proliferation to phytohemagglutinin and concanavalin A was identified. Forty-two percent had abnormally low levels of facteur thymique serique and 74% had low levels of thymopoietin, although no statistical relationship between the levels of these hormones, zinc levels, or lymphocyte proliferation could be identified. Three patients with the most profound zinc deficiency had substantial increases in thymic hormones after zinc repletion, and two had complete resolution of intractable diarrhea. A therapeutic potential of zinc for certain patients with hypogammaglobulinemia is suggested. © 1981.
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