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Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Jun;61(6):1273-6.

Urinary excretion of retinol in children with acute diarrhea.

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Department of International Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294-0008, USA.


Acute infections of childhood are associated with an increased of xerophthalmia, apparently due to depletion of vitamin A stores. The mechanism responsible for this is not known. Recently, it has been reported that severe infections in adult patients (ie, sepsis and pneumonia) result in excretion of large quantities of retinol in the urine. In 44 children hospitalized for treatment of acute diarrhea we found mean urinary excretions of 1.44 mumol retinol/24 h on day 1 of hospitalization, 0.62 mumol retinol/24 h on day 2, and 0.23 mumol/24 h on day 3. Healthy control subjects matched for age did not excrete measurable amounts of retinol in the urine. Retinol excretion was associated strongly with rotavirus diarrhea and presence of fever. Furthermore, serum retinol concentration was negatively associated with duration of diarrhea before hospitalization, suggesting that urinary excretion of retinol may be an important contributor to vitamin A depletion.

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