Cell-mediated immune reactivity, measured by lymphocyte responsiveness to phytohemagglutinin, was higher in both young or aged mice fed a 4% casein diet compared with age-matched controls. Treatment in vivo with bovine thymosin fraction V decreased the responsiveness to phytohemagglutinin of lymphocytes from mice fed either the control or moderately protein-deficient diets when compared with mice treated in vivo with saline. Resistance against Listeria monocytogenes, known to be a cell-mediated immune function, was impaired in young and aged mice which were fed the low-protein diet. Treatment with thymosin was able to significantly improve the cell-mediated immune resistance to L. monocytogenes of moderately protein-malnourished mice. Thymosin treatment impaired the resistance to L. monocytogenes of young or aged mice fed the control diet. The splenic natural killer cell cytotoxicity of protein-malnourished mice was impaired compared with that of mice fed the control diet. Treatment with thymosin did not restore the natural killer cell cytotoxic activity in protein-malnourished mice, but did enhance the activity in control mice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases