What is the role of lab tests in the workup of acrodermatitis enteropathica?

Updated: Aug 21, 2019
  • Author: Kristina Marie Dela Rosa, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Plasma zinc levels should be tested. Specimens should be collected in plastic syringes or acid-washed Vacutainer tubes with no rubber stopper to prevent exogenous contamination that could lead to spuriously normal measurements. Plasma zinc concentrations of less than 50 mcg/dL are suggestive, but not diagnostic, of acrodermatitis enteropathica. [9]

Hair, saliva, or urine zinc levels can be obtained but are rarely needed. [25]

Because alkaline phosphatase is a zinc-dependent enzyme, reduced serum levels of alkaline phosphatase in the context of normal zinc levels can indicate a zinc deficiency. [26] However, alkaline phosphatase levels are typically not decreased unless the individual has advanced disease.

Analysis of maternal breast milk zinc concentrations may help in differentiating acrodermatitis enteropathica from acquired zinc deficiency. [1]

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