Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 85–87 | Cite as

Zinc-deficiency-induced retinal dysfunction in Crohn's disease

  • Craig J. McClain
  • Le-Chu Su
  • Howard Gilbert
  • Douglas Cameron
Case Report


A patient with Crohn's disease and low serum zinc concentrations is presented who had markedly abnormal dark adaptation. Oral zinc supplementation produced an improvement in dark adaptation, and discontinuation of zinc therapy was associated with a worsening of dark adaptation. Serum vitamin A levels were normal throughout this period. We suggest that impaired retinal function is another manifestation of zinc deficiency in Crohn's disease that may be improved with zinc supplementation.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Solomons NW, Rosenberg IH, Sandstead HH, Vo-Khactu KP: Zinc deficiency in Crohn's disease. Digestion 16:87–95, 1977PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    McClain C, Soutor C, Zieve L: Zinc deficiency: A complication of Crohn's disease. Gastroenterology 78:272–279, 1980PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nishi Y, Lifshitz F, Bayne MA, Daum F, Silverberg M, Aiges H: Zinc status and its relation to growth retardation in children with chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Am J Clin Nutr 33:2613–2621, 1980PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sturniolo GC, Molokhia MM, Shields R, Turnberg LA: Zinc absorption in Crohn's disease. Gut 21:387–391, 1980PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fleming CR, Huizenga KA, McCall JT, Gildea J, Dennis R: Zinc nutrition in Crohn's disease. Dig Dis Sci 26:865–870, 1981PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sandstead HH: Zinc nutrition in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr 26:1251–1260, 1973PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    McClain CJ, Van Thiel DH, Parker S, Badzin LK, Gilbert H: Alterations in zinc, vitamin A, and retinol-binding protein in chronic alcoholics: A possible mechanism for night blindness and hypogonadism. Alcoholism 3:135–141, 1979PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Subcommittee on Medical and Biological Effects of Environment Pollutants, Division of Medical Sciences, Assembly of Life Sciences, National Research Council: Zinc. University Park Press, Baltimore, 1979Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Leopold IH: Zinc deficiency and visual impairment. Am J Ophthalmol 85:871–875, 1978PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Goodman DS: Vitam Horm 32:167–180, 1974PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Solomons NW, Russell RM: The interaction of vitamin A and zinc: Implications for human nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr 33:2031–2040, 1980PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Raskin NH, Sligar KP, Steinberg RH: Dark adaptation slowed by inhibitors of alcohol dehydrogenase in the albino rat. Brain Res 50:496–500, 1973PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Huber A, Gershoff SN: Effects of zinc deficiency on oxidation of retinal and ethanol in rats. J Nutr 105:1486–1490, 1975PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Smith JC, McDaniel EG, Fan FF, Halsted JA: Zinc: A trace element essential in vitamin A metabolism. Science 181:954–955, 1973PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Smith JE, Brown ED, Smith JC Jr: The effect of zinc deficiency on the metabolism of retinol-binding protein in the rat. J Lab Clin Med 84:692–697, 1974PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Smith JC Jr, Brown ED, McDaniel EG, Chan W: Alterations in vitamin A metabolism during zinc-deficiency and food and growth restriction. J Nutr 106:569–574, 1976PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bates J, McClain CJ: The effect of severe zinc deficiency on serum levels of albumin, transferrin and prealbumin in man. Am J Clin Nutr 34:1655–1660, 1981PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Morrison SA, Russell RM, Carney EA, Oaks EV: Zinc deficiency: A cause of abnormal dark adaptation in cirrhotics. Am J Clin Nutr 31:276–281, 1978PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Toskes PP, Dawson W, Curington C, Levy NS, Fitzgerald C: Non-diabetic retinal abnormalities in chronic pancreatitis. N Engl J Med 300:942–946, 1979PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Leure-duPree AE: Electron-opaque inclusions in the rat retinal pigment epithelium after treatment with chelators of zinc. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 21:1–9, 1981Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    McClain CJ, Leure-duPree AE, Cameron D: The effect of zinc deficiency on the function and morphology of the eye in rats and man. Clin Res 29:703A, 1981Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Digestive Disease Systems, Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig J. McClain
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Le-Chu Su
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Howard Gilbert
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Douglas Cameron
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineMinneapolis VA Medical Center and University of MinnesotaMinneapolis
  2. 2.Graduate Faculty, Food Science and NutritionUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolis
  3. 3.Departments of OphthalmologyMinneapolis VA Medical Center and Hennepin County Medical CenterMinneapolis

Personalised recommendations