The presence of anergy and its relationship to malnutrition was investigated in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and in controls. A generalised reduction in delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity to 7 recall antigens were found in 104 RA patients compared with 67 controls. No measured of the disease was capable of predicting cutaneous anergy, which was present in 36% of patients but none of the controls. A detailed dietary assessment in 30 RA patients and 30 controls revealed little evidence of clinically important malnutrition. It is therefore concluded that the cutaneous anergy of rheumatoid arthritis is not a consequence of nutritional factors.
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