Intestinal protein loss in acute and persistent diarrhea of early childhood

Zvi Weizman, Mauricio Binsztok, Drora Fraser, Richard J. Deckelbaum, Esther Granot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Goals: To determine fecal protein loss in children with acute and persistent diarrhea. Background: In children with diarrhea, ongoing losses of endogenous proteins have been suggested as contributing to impairment of nutritional and immunologic status. However, there is a paucity of information and inconclusive data in the literature. Study: Fecal protein loss was assessed prospectively in children (<3 years of age) with acute diarrhea (<7 days' duration) or persistent diarrhea (>14 days) and in controls using alpha-1-antitrypsin determination; fecal protein loss then was correlated with age, duration of diarrhea, nutritional status, plasma proteins, and stool pathogens. Results: Children with acute diarrhea (n = 43) and those with persistent diarrhea (n = 41) had significantly higher fecal alpha-1-antitrypsin levels compared with controls (n = 14) (2.26 ± 1.71 and 2.25 ± 1.51, respectively, vs. 1.02 ± 0.73 mg/g stools; p = 0.002). However, there was no significant decrease of plasma albumin, globulin, or immunoglobulins. Fecal protein loss did not differ significantly among stool pathogens (bacterial, viral, and parasitic) and demonstrated no significant correlation with age, duration of diarrhea, or nutritional status (mild malnutrition). Conclusions: Enhanced fecal protein loss was observed in more than 50% of children with acute and persistent diarrhea caused by various pathogens. This did not correlate with age, duration of diarrhea, or nutritional status and did not result in significant decrease of plasma proteins or immunoglobulins. This protein-losing enteropathy does not appear to have a causal role in perpetuation of diarrheal episodes in children with mild malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-429
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 9 Apr 2002


  • Acute diarrhea
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Protein-losing enteropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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