Background and Objectives: A vicious cycle of infection, malabsorption, and malnutrition has been implicated in the perpetuation of diarrheal disease. This study examined whether persistent diarrhea is associated with changes in selenium status and stool alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) concentration. Methods and Study Design: This cross-sectional study included 30 children aged 1-12 years with persistent diarrhea who were hospitalized in Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital and Fatmawati Hospital, Jakarta, and 30 apparently healthy children who were matched by age and sex and lived in a rural area of Jakarta. Clinical examinations, blood routine tests, erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity and plasma selenium levels as well as AAT in fresh stool samples were performed in all the subjects. Results: Of 30 children with persistent diarrhea, 17 had moderate malnutrition and 13 had severe malnutrition. The mean plasma selenium was significantly lower in children with persistent diarrhea than in children without diarrhea (86.0 μg/L [95% CI: 76.1-95.9] vs 110 μg/L [95% CI: 104-116, p < 0.0001). The mean stool AAT concentration was significantly higher in children with persistent diarrhea than in those without diarrhea (115 mg/dL [95% CI: 38.5-191] vs 16 mg/dL [95% CI: 4.0-13.5, p < 0.0001]). Selenium correlated with AAT (p=0.05). Fecal fungi were persistently present. Conclusions: Although selenium status in both groups was optimal for the obtained plasma GPX activity, children with persistent diarrhea exhibited lower plasma selenium levels. This study suggests that the decrease in the plasma selenium level may be the consequence of protein loss and that fungi may be involved.
- Intestinal inflammation
- Protein-losing enteropathy