Papers And Originals

Small-intestinal Cell Turnover in Patients with Parasitic Infections

Br Med J 1971; 3 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.3.5769.281 (Published 31 July 1971) Cite this as: Br Med J 1971;3:281
  1. L. R. Da Costa

    Abstract

    Small-intestinal deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) loss rates were measured in six patients with Strongyloides stercoralis hyperinfestation, in four patients with hookworm disease, and in eight normal controls. In the four patients with strongyloidiasis having weight loss, hypoproteinaemia, and oedema the mean DNA loss rates were 73·9, 51·6, 58·0, and 62·2 ng atoms DNA-P/min respectively, which was significantly higher than that of patients with hookworm disease (mean 17·3, S.D. 6·6) or in eight control subjects (mean 14·5, S.D. 7·5). In two of three patients with strongyloidiasis the high DNA loss rates fell to normal after treatment, and in two others investigated only after treatment the rates were normal. It is suggested that the high epithelial cell turnover in these patients may result in excessive loss of endogenous substances and that this may be an important mechanism in causing malnutrition and hypoproteinaemia in patients with S. stercoralis hyperinfestation.