Effect of zinc on thymus of recently malnourished children

Lancet. 1977 Nov 19;2(8047):1057-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(77)91888-8.


Zinc-deficient animals and children have thymic atrophy and an increased susceptibility to infections. Children with protein-energy malnutrition similarly have thymic atrophy, zinc deficiency, and increased susceptibility to infections. 8 children, recently malnourished, who were supplemented with zinc, showed an increase in thymic size as judged radiographically. It is suggested that zinc deficiency may play a part in the thymic atrophy and infections associated with malnutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Jamaica
  • Male
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / complications*
  • Protein-Energy Malnutrition / drug therapy
  • Thymus Gland / drug effects*
  • Thymus Gland / growth & development
  • Thymus Gland / pathology
  • Zinc / deficiency
  • Zinc / therapeutic use*


  • Zinc