A protein-energy deficit produces stress in the organism affecting all systems. Proportional to the degree of disease, cortisol and GH are mostly responsible for some of these effects. To investigate the effects on liver and bone, cortisol, GH, AST, ALT, ALP activities and Ca(T) and P(i) in serum were measured in 21 marasmus, nine kwashiorkor and 34 control children. In the marasmus group, we found a positive correlation between cortisol and AST, ALT and Ca(T) and a negative correlation between cortisol and ALP. In the kwashiorkor group there were positive correlations between the same parameters, although, they were of a lesser degree. Furthermore, in the kwashiorkor group we established a positive correlation between GH and ALP. Cortisol stimulates transaminases directly and suppresses ALP activity, thus indirectly increasing Ca(T), whereas GH has no direct effect on these enzymes. As the disease progresses and as liver functions deteriorate, AST, ALT and ALP increase in serum.