Carotenoids, retinol, and intestinal barrier function in children from northeastern Brazil.

Clinical Research Unit and Institute of Biomedicine, School of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Brazil.
Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.18). 11/2008; 47(5):652-9. DOI: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31816bf4bf
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To investigate the association of carotenoids and retinol (vitamin A) with intestinal barrier function in children in an urban community in Fortaleza, northeastern Brazil.
Descriptive analysis of serum carotenoids and retinol concentrations with intestinal barrier function in 102 children from an urban community, July 2000 to August 2001.
The weight for height z score (wasting) showed that 19.6% (20/102) had mild malnutrition (-1 to -2 z score). All of the children's serum retinol concentrations were determined and none were severely deficient (< or =0.35 micromol/L), 2.9% (3/102) were moderately (0.36-0.70 micromol/L) deficient, 20.6% (21/102) were mildly (0.71-1.05 micromol/L) deficient; 76.5% (78/102) were vitamin A sufficient (>1.05 micromol/L). The lactulose:mannitol (L/M) ratio was elevated (> or =0.0864) in 49% (47/97) of children when compared with healthy children with normal L/M ratio (<0.0864) in the same geographic area. Serum carotenoids, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene showed significant inverse correlations with the L/M ratio, but not lutein after adjusting for age. Acute phase proteins (C-reactive protein and alpha-acid glycoprotein) were significantly inversely correlated with retinol but not with carotenoids. Retinol and retinol-binding protein were not significantly associated with L/M ratio.
These data suggest a disruption of intestinal barrier function in the paracellular pathway with low serum concentrations of carotenoids. Carotenoids may provide a better marker for disrupted intestinal barrier function than retinol-binding protein or retinol.

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