Vitamin A status was examined in nine adult cystic fibrosis patients and six adult control subjects, together with an assessment of their ability to absorb 10,000 IU of retinyl palmitate from a test meal, taken with appropriate pancreatic enzyme supplements. Median baseline values for plasma retinol and carotene, as well as median serum retinol binding protein concentrations, were significantly lower in cystic fibrosis patients than in control subjects. One cystic fibrosis patient had a raised fasting plasma retinyl ester concentration suggestive of chronic hypervitaminosis A, but no symptoms of toxicity. Measures of vitamin A absorption were also significantly lower in cystic fibrosis patients, although there was considerable overlap with control values. No correlation was observed between measures of baseline status and vitamin A absorption. Measurement of plasma retinyl esters may be an appropriate investigation in those patients considered to be at risk of chronic hypervitaminosis A.
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