Nutritional status and immune function were correlated with clinical features in 56 patients with Crohn's disease. These were divided arbitrarily into either undernourished or well nourished groups according to whether their midarm circumference was below or above 90% of ideal standard. Results were also compared with 33 patients with ulcerative colitis and 28 normal subjects. Undernourished patients with Crohn's disease had significantly reduced total lymphocyte and T lymphocyte counts and a reduced proportion of monocytes that ingested latex particles. Well nourished patients with Crohn's disease were similar to the two control groups. Twenty one undernourished patients with Crohn's disease were also followed during the course of two to four months' nutritional treatment with an enteral supplement. Nutritional therapy was associated with significant anthropometric gains as well as significant rises in total lymphocyte and T lymphocyte counts. Serum orosomucoids were significantly higher in undernourished patients and decreased significantly during nutritional therapy. The results show that undernutrition and disease acuity may be associated with reduced immunological competence in patients with Crohn's disease, but all these measurements can be improved by short term nutritional treatment.
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