Polymorphonuclear leukocyte functions were studied in 92 patients with protein-calorie malnutrition. Serum folic acid levels were higher than 3 ng/ml in 38 patients and 3 ng/ml or less in 54 patients. Significant differences were found between these two groups of patients with regard to phagocytosis (81.5 +/- 1.9 versus 69.2 +/- 2.0 percent, p less than 0.001) and bactericidal ability (90.6 +/- 1.1 versus 84.5 +/- 2.3 percent, p less than 0.05). Correction of folic acid deficiency in 22 patients was associated with recovery of normal phagocytosis (p less than 0.001) but not bactericidal function. Adding folic acid to the serum of eight patients also restored normal phagocytic function (p less than 0.001). A correlation was found in vivo and in vitro between changes over time in folic acid levels and in phagocytosis.
Youinou PY, Garre MA, Menez JF, Boles JM, Morin JF, Pennec Y, Miossec PJ, Morin PP, Le Menn G. Folic acid deficiency and neutrophil dysfunction. Am J Med. 1982 November