Phrynoderma cases were identified in a village close to Colombo in Sri Lanka. The alpha-tocopherol level in plasma was 3.3 +/- 0.6 mumol/L among the phrynoderma patients (n = 11) and 13.0 +/- 2.3 mumol/L among the control subjects (p less than 0.002). A test on glutathione reductase activity in erythrocytes revealed a stronger riboflavin deficiency among patients than among control subjects (p less than 0.005). No significant differences were found between the groups with regard to plasma levels of retinol, retinol-binding protein, vitamin B-12, folic acid, thiamin, selenium, zinc, or essential fatty acid pattern. Primary malnutrition may partly explain the deficiency of alpha-tocopherol and riboflavin observed in phrynoderma cases.
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