Urinary excretion of retinol in children with acute diarrhea

José O. Alvarez, Eduardo Salazar-Lindo, Jorge Kohatsu, Percy Miranda, Charles B. Stephensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Acute infections of childhood are associated with an increased rate 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 μmol retinol/24 h on day 1 of hospitalization, 0.62 μmol retinol/24 h on day 2, and 0.23 μmol/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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1276
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Peru
  • Vitamin A
  • children
  • diarrhea
  • retinol
  • urinary excretion
  • urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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