Serum and plasma markers of nutritional status in children infected with the human immunodeficiency virus

Robin A. Henderson, Karen Talusan, Nancy Hutton, Robert H. Yolken, Benjamin Caballero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether reduced serum or plasma protein and micronutrient levels are common in children infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and whether these levels are different in children with growth retardation compared to those with normal growth. Subjects: Children were separated into three groups: (a) HIV-infected with growth retardation (HIV+Gr); (b) HIV-infected with normal growth (HIV+); (c) HIV-uninfected with normal growth (HIV-). All children were afebrile and free of acute infection at the time of study. During a 24-hour stay in the Pediatric Clinical Research Unit, blood was drawn for analysis of total protein, album, zinc, selenium, and vitamin A levels; growth measurements were obtained; and dietary intake was assessed by 24-hour weighed food intake and 24-hour dietary recall. Statistical analysis: Mean differences between groups were assessed by analysis of variance, and differences in the frequency of nutrient deficiency were determined by χ2 analysis. Results: Thirty-eight children between 2 and 11 years of age were studied: 10 HIV+Gr, 18 HIV+, and 10 HIV-. No statistically significantly differences were noted in mean levels of albumin, prealbumin, zinc, and selenium. Mean serum level of vitamin A was significantly higher in the HIV+Gr group than in the other two groups. There were no significant differences between groups in the frequency of deficiency for any nutrient studied. Mean energy and nutrient intake was similar among groups. Applications/conclusions: Abnormal serum or plasma protein or micronutrient levels were uncommon in this cohort of HIV- infected children, even in children with growth retardation. Routine monitoring of the level of proteins and micronutrients studied is unnecessary in the absence of specific clinical indicators of deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1377-1381
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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