August 1985

Cell-Mediated Immunity Assessed by Multitest CMI Skin Testing in Infants and Preschool Children

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Drs Kniker and Corriel and Ms McBryde); and the Laboratoire d'Immunologie de l'Hôpital, Paris (Dr Lesourd).

Am J Dis Child. 1985;139(8):840-845. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1985.02140100102044

• Two hundred twenty-one healthy children, from 6 months to 7 years of age, were tested for delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) by the Multitest CMI (cell-mediated immunity) (Merieux Institute, Miami). This device permits the simultaneous application of seven standardized recall antigens and a glycerol diluent control. Younger children were tested on the back and older children on the volar surface of the forearm. Only 6.8% of the children were anergic, and most of them (11/15) were female. The DTH responses were present for one or more antigens in 93% of the infants. The DTH responses increased tremendously during the second year of life and increased slowly thereafter. A relatively high incidence of positive reactions was found for three of the tested antigens—diphtheria toxoid (79%), tetanus toxoid (62%), and Proteus (57%), in children in the preschool years, and accounted for three fourths of all positive reactions. Much lower levels were found for Streptococcus (25%), Candida (16%), Trichophyton (5%), and tuberculin (4%). Measurement of DTH by the standardized Multitest CMI system seems to be a convenient and reliable tool for assessing CMI function in infants and small children. The tool permitted us to measure patterns of DTH responses from infancy onward in a healthy population and to develop index values in a normal reference population with which any tested preschool child can be compared.

(AJDC 1985;139:840-845)