Hepatic Trace Elements in Kwashiorkor
It has been proposed that kwashiorkor, a common form of malnutrition, occurs as a result of an imbalance in the level of free radicals and their safe disposal1. Iron is a major catalyst of free radical generating reactions in vivo2. The seleno-enzyme glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) and the copper/zinc enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalyse the safe dissipation of free radicals. These enzymes have their essential trace elements at their active sites. High levels of hepatic iron could propagate free radical generating reactions. Impaired protection against free radical generating species could result from reduced levels of the trace element cofactors essential for their safe disposal. Waterlow3 found stainable iron in children with kwashiorkor, while Warren et al4 found depressed levels of several other trace elements. Trace element status may be reflected in hepatic levels. To investigate this, hepatic levels of iron, copper, zinc and selenium were measured in Jamaican malnourished children.
KeywordsZinc Toxicity Manganese Glutathione Superoxide
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