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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2001;15(2-3):185-91.

Molybdenum metabolism: stable isotope studies in infancy.

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Universitäts-Kinderklinik, Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel, Germany.


The essential trace element molybdenum (Mo) is bound to and required for the function of molybdoenzymes, e.g. sulfite and xanthine oxidase. Dietary recommendations for early infancy are based on limited knowledge about its metabolism. 100Mo was used as an extrinsic tag to study the absorption and kinetics of excretion in infancy. 10 infants with a gestational age of 35 (30-39) weeks, a birth weight of 2.0 (0.9-2.3) kg and a post-natal age of 20 (10-54) days were studied. They received 25 microg 100Mo/kg with a feed of human milk or formula. Fractional urinary and fecal collections were conducted preceding the 100Mo intake and for 48-72 hours afterwards. The materials were analyzed by atomic absorption spectroscopy and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The median absorption of 100Mo intake was 97.5 (96.3 to 99.1) %. The retention of nutritive Mo intake and 100Mo in the study period was 11.2 (3.8-15.7) microg Mo/kg, equivalent to 35.7 (12.7-55.6) %. The Mo concentration increased to a peak value in urine within 8 (6-13) hours and in feces within 24 (7-48.5) hours. In addition, increases of copper in feces and urine were observed in 8 of 9 infants studied. Mo given orally is well resorbed in premature infants, and predominantly excreted in the urine. Dietary recommendations should prevent excessive intakes in infancy.

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