, Volume 33, Issue 9, pp 1096-1102

Zinc plasma levels after oral zinc tolerance test in nonalcoholic cirrhosis

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Zinc absorption was examined in 25 nonalcoholic cirrhotic patients using the oral zinc tolerance test and comparing results to a healthy control group. With 22.5 mg elementary zinc, the increase in plasma zinc was significantly lower in the cirrhotic patients than in the control group with P<0.01 in the first and second hours and P<0.05 in the fourth hour. The zinc malabsorption may result from an abnormal small intestinal mucosa. Indeed small intestinal biopsies in all patients showed partial shortening and prominent distension of villi and intense stromal edema with inflammatory cell infiltration of the lamina propria. However, it is not clear whether these intestinal changes are due to zinc deficiency or to portal hypertension. Thus zinc malabsorption appears to contribute to zinc deficiency in nonalcoholic cirrhotics and seems to result, in part, from pathological changes in the mucosa.

This research is partly supported by the Turkish Scientific and Research Council.