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Overview of Inherited Zinc Deficiency in Infants and Children

  • Zinc nutrition is of special practical importance in infants and children. Zinc malabsorption causes zinc deficiency leading to a wide range of consequences, including alopecia, diarrhea, skin lesions, taste disturbances, loss of appetite, impaired immune function, neuropsychiatric changes, and growth retardation, potentially threatening life. life in infants and children.
  • In addition to dietary zinc deficiency, hereditary zinc deficiency, which rarely occurs, is found during infancy and early childhood.
  • Recent molecular genetic studies have identified genes responsible for two inherited zinc deficiency disorders, acrodermatitis enteropathica (AE) and transient neonatal zinc deficiency (TNZD), elucidating the pathological mechanisms.
  • Both zinc deficiencies are caused by zinc transporter mutations, although the mechanisms are completely different. AE is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations of the ZIP4 gene, resulting in defective absorption of zinc in the small intestine. In contrast, TNZD is a disorder caused by mutations in the ZnT2 gene, resulting in a low level of breast milk zinc in the mother, causing zinc deficiency in the infant.
  • In both cases, symptoms of zinc deficiency improve with daily oral zinc supplementation for patients.
  • Zinc is definitely one of the key factors for the healthy growth of infants and children, and therefore zinc nutrition should be given close attention.

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