Background: Riboflavin, flavin mononucleotide (FMN), and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) concentrations have been little studied in cases of malnutrition.
Objective: Our objective was to investigate the effects of malnutrition on riboflavin status and riboflavin's relation with thyroid hormones and concentrations of urinary organic acids.
Design: Malnourished children from the savannah in Benin (group S, n = 30) and the coast in Togo (group C, n = 30), as well as 24 control subjects from both regions, were studied. Blood riboflavin, FMN, and FAD were analyzed by HPLC; urinary organic acids were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.
Results: Children in group S were more severely malnourished than children in group C. Triiodothyronine concentrations were lower in group S than in group C or the control group (1.12 +/- 0.24 compared with 1.74 +/- 0.18 and 2.92 +/- 0.19 nmol/L, respectively; P < 0.0001). Plasma riboflavin concentrations in group S were higher than those in group C or the control group (66.90 +/- 12.75 compared with 28.09 +/- 9.12 and 20.08 +/- 3.03 nmol/L, respectively; P < 0.001). Plasma FAD concentrations in group S were lower than those in group C or the control group (31.57 +/- 10.19 compared with 59.02 +/- 5.60 and 65.35 +/- 5.23 nmol/L, respectively; P < 0.0001). Dicarboxylic aciduria was higher in group C than in group S or the control subjects.
Conclusions: Children in group S had low triiodothyronine concentrations and low conversion of plasma riboflavin into its cofactors, leading to a plasma FAD deficiency. Plasma FAD was not correlated with urinary dicarboxylic acid concentrations.