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Homann, Christian; Hennig, Georg; Maier, Felicitas; Stepp, Herbert; Hoidt, Lesca M.; Vogeser, Michael; Sroka, Ronald; Koletzko, Berthold (2019): Non-invasive measurement of erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin in children. In: Pediatric Research, Vol. 85, No. 3: pp. 349-354
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BACKGROUND: Reliable screening for iron deficiency (ID) has required a blood sample and cost-intensive laboratory measurements. A novel method to non-invasively measure erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin (ZnPP), an established marker for ID, is evaluated in children. METHODS: ZnPP was determined non-invasively by fluorescence measurements on the wet vermillion of the lower lip in 99 hospitalized children aged 9 months to 5 years. For comparison, conventional ID parameters and ZnPP were determined from blood samples. RESULTS: The non-invasively measured ZnPP values had limits of agreement (LoA) of 14 mu mol ZnPP/mol heme (95% confidence interval: 9-20) compared to fluorescence measurements directly in blood. Repeated high-performance liquid chromatography reference determinations had comparable LoA of 14 mu mol ZnPP/mol heme (9-17). Non-invasive ZnPP measurements had sensitivity and specificity of 67% (39-88%) and 97% (91-99%), and negative and positive predictive value of 94% (90-97%) and 80% (55-93%), for detecting ID as defined by the soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR). In groups with more severe ID as defined by serum ferritin and sTfR, higher ZnPP values were found, with the highest ZnPP values for the group with ID anemia. CONCLUSION: Non-invasive ZnPP measurements are reliably feasible in children. The simple and fast method has the potential to enable wide-spread screening for ID.