Immunocompetency in anorexia nervosa.

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Twenty-two consecutively admitted patients diagnosed for anorexia nervosa were evaluated for cellular immune functioning by means of an anergy panel to test delayed hypersensitivity. The panel included candida, streptokinase-streptodornase, and mumps antigen administered by a standard protocol. A standard nutritional profile including current weight, usual weight, total protein, albumin, total iron-binding capacity, white blood cell count, total lymphocyte count, triceps skinfold, and arm muscle circumference was concurrently compiled on these subjects. Six of 22 patients studied were anergic. Visceral protein measures were generally within normal limits even in the most depleted patients. Malnutrition as measured by severity of weight loss and triceps skinfolds was significantly related to anergy, whereas visceral protein indicators (serum albumin, total iron binding capacity, transferrin) were not correlated with anergy. Anergy appeared to be related more strongly to anthropometric indices of malnutrition than to visceral protein values. Cellular immunity was generally preserved until weight loss was far advanced.

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The American journal of clinical nutrition

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