1. Enzymes pertinent to bactericidal activities of leucocytes were assayed in children suffering from protein–calorie malnutrition. 2. Leucocytes obtained from malnourished and control children contained similar activities for glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase. Granule-bound NADPH oxidase activity was low in leucocytes isolated from malnourished patients and failed to show the phagocytic stimulation which is normally seen in control leucocytes. Further, leucocytes obtained from malnourished patients did not release the acid phosphatase from lysosomes during phagocytosis, unlike those from controls. 3. Treatment of the malnourishment with a diet high in calories and protein resulted in significant increase in the activities of glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase and NADPH oxidase and in releasing the acid phosphatase from the lysosomes into the supernatant fraction during phagocytosis. 4. The significance of these enzyme changes are discussed in relation to the increased susceptibility of these patients to infection.

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