• Low and deficient niacin status and pellagra are endemic in postwar Angola

      Seal, A J; Creeke, P I; Dibari, F; Cheung, E; Kyroussis, E; Semedo, P; van den Briel, T; Centre for International Child Health, Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom; World Food Programme, Luanda, Angola; MSF–Belgium, Kuito, Angola; Ministry of Health, Luanda, Angola; World Food Programme, Rome, Italy (2007-01-01)
      BACKGROUND: Outbreaks of pellagra were documented during the civil war in Angola, but no contemporary data on the incidence of pellagra or the prevalence of niacin deficiency were available. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to investigate the incidence of pellagra and the prevalence of niacin deficiency in postwar Angola and their relation with dietary intake, poverty, and anthropometric status. DESIGN: Admissions data from 1999 to 2004 from the pellagra treatment clinic in Kuito, Angola, were analyzed. New patients admitted over 1 wk were examined, and urine and blood samples were collected. A multistage cluster population survey collected data on anthropometric measures, household dietary intakes, socioeconomic status, and clinical signs of pellagra for women and children. Urinary excretion of 1-methylnicotinamide, 1-methyl-2-pyridone-5-carboxymide, and creatinine was measured and hemoglobin concentrations were measured with a portable photometer. RESULTS: The incidence of clinical pellagra has not decreased since the end of the civil war in 2002. Low excretion of niacin metabolites was confirmed in 10 of 11 new clinic patients. Survey data were collected for 723 women aged 15-49 y and for 690 children aged 6-59 mo. Excretion of niacin metabolites was low in 29.4% of the women and 6.0% of the children, and the creatinine-adjusted concentrations were significantly lower in the women than in the children (P < 0.001, t test). In children, niacin status was positively correlated with the household consumption of peanuts (r = 0.374, P = 0.001) and eggs (r = 0.290, P = 0.012) but negatively correlated with socioeconomic status (r = -0.228, P = 0.037). CONCLUSIONS: The expected decrease in pellagra incidence after the end of the civil war has not occurred. The identification of niacin deficiency as a public health problem should refocus attention on this nutritional deficiency in Angola and other areas of Africa where maize is the staple.
    • Whole blood NAD and NADP concentrations are not depressed in subjects with clinical pellagra

      Creeke, P I; Dibari, F; Cheung, E; van den Briel, T; Kyroussis, E; Seal, A J; Centre for International Health and Development, Institute of Child Health, London, UK; World Food Programme, Luanda, Angola; World Food Programme, Rome, Italy; Medecins sans Frontieres-Belgium, Kuito, Angola (2007-09-01)
      Population surveys for niacin deficiency are normally based on clinical signs or on biochemical measurements of urinary niacin metabolites. Status may also be determined by measurement of whole blood NAD and NADP concentrations. To compare these methods, whole blood samples and spot urine samples were collected from healthy subjects (n = 2) consuming a western diet, from patients (n = 34) diagnosed with pellagra and attending a pellagra clinic in Kuito (central Angola, where niacin deficiency is endemic), and from female community control subjects (n = 107) who had no clinical signs of pellagra. Whole blood NAD and NADP concentrations were measured by microtiter plate-based enzymatic assays and the niacin urinary metabolites 1-methyl-2-pyridone-5-carboxamide (2-PYR) and 1-methylnicotinamide (1-MN) by HPLC. In healthy volunteers, inter- and intra-day variations for NAD and NADP concentrations were much lower than for the urinary metabolites, suggesting a more stable measure of status. However, whole blood concentrations of NAD and NADP or the NAD:NADP ratio were not significantly depressed in clinical pellagra. In contrast, the concentrations of 2-PYR and 1-MN, expressed relative to either creatinine or osmolality, were lower in pellagra patients and markedly higher following treatment. The use of the combined cut-offs (2-PYR <3.0 micromol/mmol creatinine and 1-MN <1.3 micromol/mmol creatinine) gave a sensitivity of 91% and specificity of 72%. In conclusion, whole blood NAD and NADP concentrations gave an erroneously low estimate of niacin deficiency. In contrast, spot urine sample 2-PYR and 1-MN concentrations, relative to creatinine, were a sensitive and specific measure of deficiency.