Urinary zinc and metallothionein in children with spina bifida

Andrew W. Zimmerman, Justine S. Garvey, John V. Banta, Eva Horak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Defective embryonic cellular zinc utilization may contribute to abnormal neural tube formation and such a defect may be detectable in children with spina bifida (SB). To investigate this possibility, we examined urinary excretion of zinc and metallothionein (Mt), a cytoplasmic metal-binding protein, in 10 girls and 6 boys (ages 6 months to 19 years) with SB and 16 age-matched control subjects. Mean urinary zinc and Mt concentrations in the SB group were 65% and 72% greater than controls, respectively (p <0.05). There was was no evidence of renal dysfunction as judged by urinary creatinine and total protein excretion in the SB children. Increased excretion of zinc and Mt in some children with SB may reflect one or more underlying defects of zinc utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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