The objective of this study was to assess the impact of different strategies for delivering supplemental zinc on fecal myeloperoxidase (MPO), neopterin (NEO), and calprotectin (CAL) among young Laotian children. In a double-blind controlled trial, children aged 6-23 months were randomized to receive either daily preventive zinc (PZ) tablets (7 mg/ day), daily micronutrient powder (MNP; containing 10 mg zinc and 14 other micronutrients), therapeutic zinc (TZ) supplements for diarrhea treatment (20 mg/day for 10 days), or daily placebo powder and followed for ∼36 weeks. Stool samples were collected at baseline and endline. Fecal MPO, NEO, and CAL concentrations were determined in a randomly selected subsample of 720 children using commercially available ELISA kits. At baseline, the mean age was 14.1 ± 4.9 months and prevalence of stunting was 39%. The endline prevalence of stunting was 43%; there was no overall treatment effect on physical growth in the parent trial. At endline, the mean (95% CI) MPO in the PZ group was 1,590 [1,396; 1,811] ng/mL and did not differ from that in the MNP (1,633 [1,434; 1,859] ng/mL), TZ (1,749 [1,535; 1,992] ng/mL), and control (1,612 [1,415; 1,836] ng/mL) groups (P = 0.749). Similarly, there was no overall treatment effect on NEO and CAL concentrations (P = 0.226 and 0.229, respectively). In this population, the provision of PZ or TZ supplements or MNP had no impact on growth or environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) as assessed by fecal MPO, NEO, and CAL. Additional research is needed to better understand the etiology and proposed mechanisms of EED pathogenesis.


Public Health and Sports Medicine

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© 2020 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

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American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene