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Zinc Status in Children and Young Adults With Sickle Cell Disease

Thomas C. Abshire, MD; Jamie L. English; John H. Githens, MD; K. Michael Hambidge, FRCP(Ed)
Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(12):1356-1359. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150120110052.
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• Previous studies have suggested an association of zinc deficiency and short stature in some children and adults with sickle cell disease (SCD). As a result, zinc supplementation has been recommended for these patients. The mechanism for zinc deficiency in certain patients with SCD is unknown, although renal loss of zinc has been suggested as a contributing factor. The zinc status of 29 subjects with SCD and 18 black controls was studied. No evidence of zinc deficiency in our population with SCD was found when plasma and cellular zinc levels were measured. Likewise, levels of two zinc-dependent enzymes, alkaline phosphatase and δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase, were normal in these subjects with SCD. Although adolescent subjects with SCD tended to be shorter than control subjects, there was no correlation between the height-for-age z score and plasma zinc levels (r=−.31). It was concluded that zinc deficiency was not present in our population with SCD, and that there was no correlation between plasma zinc levels and the height-for-age z score in growing adolescent patients with SCD. These findings suggested that zinc supplementation may not be necessary in all patients with SCD.

(AJDC 1988;142:1356-1359)

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