Whole body protein turnover in children with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the rate of whole body protein turnover (WBPT) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children, and to determine the relationship between WBPT and growth. The rate of WBPT was calculated from the cumulative excretion of labeled urinary ammonia after a single intravenous dose of 15N-glycine in three groups of children: 1) HIV+ with growth retardation (HIV+Gr); 2) HIV+ with normal growth (HIV+); 3) HIV-infected with normal growth (HIV-). Twenty-six children between 2 and 11 y of age were studied (10 HIV+Gr, 12 HIV+, 4 HIV-). All children were afebrile and free of acute infection during the study. Rates of WBPT (mean ± SD) for the study groups were: HIV+Gr, 12.2 ± 4.8; HIV+, 10.7 ± 5.1; and HIV-, 8.6 ± 2.1 g · protein · kg-1 · d-1 (NS, P > 0.05). Although not statistically significant, mean WBPT was 42% greater inn HIV+Gr, and 24% greater in HIV+ compared to HIV-. Statistically significant correlations were found between WBPT and Z scores for height (r = -0.39, P = 0.05) and weight-for-age (r = -0.51, P = 0.01) and dietary intake of protein (r = 0.39, P = 0.05), and between protein balance (synthesis-catabolism) and intakes of energy (r = 0.47, P = 0.02) and protein (r = 0.40, P = 0.04). There was no statistically significant correlation between WBPT and resting energy expenditure (r = 0.27, P = 0.19), or CD4 cell number (r = 0.05, P = 0.82). These data suggest an association between increased rates of protein turnover and low weight and height-for-age Z scores, and that it may be possible to achieve positive protein balance given an adequate intake of nutrients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-194
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999


  • AIDS
  • Child
  • HIV
  • Nutrition
  • Protein metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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