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Serum beta-carotene deficiency in HIV-infected children


Omene JA




J Natl Med Assoc


Representative levels of serum micronutrients specifically, beta-carotene and vitamins A and E, were studied in symptomatic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children. The nutritional status of 23 symptomatic African-American and Hispanic HIV-infected children were compared with an appropriate control group comprised of 36 uninfected children matched for age and sex, using body mass index. Serum beta-carotene and vitamin A and E levels were randomly determined on 15 of the infected children. Beta-carotene concentration was 4.9-fold reduced in symptomatic HIV-infected children when compared with the control group. There was a 6.5-fold decrease in the serum level for children without acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and a 13-fold reduction in children with AIDS. No differences in the mean values for serum vitamins A and E were observed in the groups studied. Although the nutritional status of the symptomatic HIV-infected children was not different from that of the control population, their serum beta-carotene levels were profoundly deficient. This finding may have immunologic and clinical implications for children with rapidly progressing HIV disease.

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