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Biochemistry Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9196538, 6 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9196538
Research Article

Serum Transthyretin Level as a Plausible Marker for Diagnosis of Child Acute Malnutrition

1Biomedical Sciences Unit, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia
2Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 9086, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
3Department of Medical Biochemistry, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 9086, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Correspondence should be addressed to Solomon Genet; moc.oohay@37neglos

Received 3 April 2017; Revised 5 June 2017; Accepted 5 July 2017; Published 8 August 2017

Academic Editor: Saad Tayyab

Copyright © 2017 Behailu Tsegaye et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Malnutrition is a major underlying condition for mortality in children under five years of age in developing countries, particularly in Ethiopia. The most important forms of malnutrition in Ethiopia are protein and energy deficiencies. There is no reliable laboratory method at present to assess acute malnutrition. Transthyretin is a homotetrameric serum protein with half-life of two days. The main objective of this study was to assess the estimation of serum transthyretin level as a useful diagnostic method to evaluate nutritional status of children. We used a newly designed transthyretin test kit to evaluate nutritional status of children admitted to our hospital. There is no national reference standard; hence we made a comparative study using anthropometric measurements and measurement of serum albumin level. A total of 102 children (51 controls and 51 study subjects) were included in this study. Transthyretin was found to be more sensitive to changes in acute malnutrition than albumin, and its level reflects recent dietary intake compared to overall nutritional status. The method is more sensitive and reliable for detection of acute malnutrition, along with anthropometric methods. Measurement of serum transthyretin level can be used as a valuable diagnostic method for assessment of acute malnutrition among children.