pellagra

pellagrose, pellagrous, adj.
/peuh lag"reuh, -lay"greuh, -lah"-/, n. Pathol.
a disease caused by a deficiency of niacin in the diet, characterized by skin changes, severe nerve dysfunction, mental symptoms, and diarrhea.
[1805-15; < It < NL: skin disease, equiv. to pell(is) skin + -agra < Gk ágra seizure]

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Nutritional disorder caused largely by a deficiency of niacin, marked by skin lesions and digestive and neurological disturbances.

Dermatitis usually appears first, with abnormal sensitivity to sunlight. It may look like a severe sunburn, later becoming reddish brown, rough, and scaly. Diarrhea usually alternates with constipation, along with mouth and tongue inflammation and cracking and dry scaling of the lips. Later, mental abnormalities may include nervousness, depression, and delirium. Mild cases of niacin deficiency respond to a well-balanced diet alone. Pellagra still occurs where diets consist mostly of corn, which is low in both niacin and tryptophan (converted to niacin in the body), with little or no protein-rich food. It can also be a side effect of chronic alcoholism.

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      nutritional disorder caused by a dietary deficiency of niacin (also called nicotinic acid) or a failure of the body to absorb this vitamin or the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted to niacin in the body. Pellagra is characterized by skin lesions and by gastrointestinal and neurological disturbances; the so-called classical three Ds of pellagra are dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia.

      Skin lesions result from an abnormal sensitization of the skin to sunlight and tend to occur symmetrically on the exposed surfaces of the arms, legs, and neck. They may look at first like a severe sunburn, later becoming reddish brown, rough, and scaly. Gastrointestinal symptoms usually consist of diarrhea, with an accompanying inflammation of the mouth and the tongue and fissuring and dry scaling of the lips and corners of the mouth. Neurological signs appear later in most cases, when the skin and alimentary manifestations are prominent. The dementia, or mental aberrations, may include general nervousness, confusion, depression, apathy, and delirium.

      In humans, pellagra is seldom a deficiency of niacin alone; response to niacin therapy tends to be partial, whereas the therapeutic administration of a well-balanced, high-protein diet and multivitamins commonly brings swift recovery. Mild or suspected instances of niacin deficiency can be effectively treated with a well-balanced diet alone.

      Research by Joseph Goldberger of the United States Public Health Service and others showed that pellagra was the result of a nutritional deficiency. In 1937 it was shown that dogs with a disorder similar to pellagra known as black tongue could be cured by the administration of niacin. Pellagra is now seldom encountered in countries in which the population generally eats a well-balanced diet, but it still occurs in most countries in which people live on a diet that consists predominantly of corn (maize), which is low in tryptophan, and contains little or no protein-rich food. Such foods as milk and eggs, although low in niacin, will protect the body from pellagra because their proteins contain sufficient tryptophan for the synthesis of niacin. Pellagra can also be a side effect of chronic alcoholism. Symptoms closely resembling those of pellagra are seen in Hartnup disease.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pellagra — Classification and external resources Pellagra sufferer with skin lesions ICD 10 E …   Wikipedia

  • Pellagra — Pel la*gra (p[e^]l l[.a]*gr[.a]), n. [It. pelle skin + agro rough.] (Med.) An affection of the skin, characterized by redness, especially in exposed areas, scaling and shedding of the skin, and accompanied with severe gastrointestinal disturbance …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pellăgra — (gr., Mala rosa, Mailändische Rose), ein in Oberitalien, vorzüglich zur Frühlingszeit, unter der ärmeren Volksklasse u. unter den Landleuten endemisch herrschendes aussatzartiges Hautleiden; erscheint zuerst nach mancherlei Vorläufern im Frühjahr …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Pellăgra — (lat. pellisagra, rauhe Haut, Maïdismus, ital. Mal rosso, lombardischer oder mailändischer Aussatz, auch mailändische Rose), eigentümliche Krankheit in Oberitalien, besonders um Padua herum, in Südtirol, in Südfrankreich und einigen Gegenden… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pellagra — Pellāgra (ital.), mailänd. Rose, lombard. Aussatz, bes. in Oberitalien endemische Hautkrankheit, chronische Hautentzündung, begleitet von Verdauungsstörungen und Nervenleiden, kehrt jedes Frühjahr verstärkt wieder, führt zwischen dem 3. und 7.… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Pellagra — Pellagra, Mal rosso, der lombardische Aussatz, endemische Krankheit Oberitaliens, auch in Südfrankreich, befällt hauptsächlich Landleute, die viel im Freien in der Sonne arbeiten, u. beginnt mit einer rothlaufartigen Entzündung der Haut, die sich …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Pellagra — ⇒ Niacinamid …   Deutsch wörterbuch der biologie

  • pellagra — chronic disease caused by dietary deficiency and characterized by skin eruptions, 1811, a hybrid formed from L. pellis skin (see FILM (Cf. film)) + Gk. agra a catching, seizure …   Etymology dictionary

  • pellagra — ► NOUN ▪ a disease characterized by dermatitis, diarrhoea, and mental disturbance, caused by a dietary deficiency. ORIGIN Italian, from pelle skin …   English terms dictionary

  • pellagra — [pə lā′grə, pəlag′rə] n. [It < pelle (L pellis), the skin + agra < Gr agra, seizure, akin to agein: see ACT1] a chronic disease caused by a deficiency of nicotinic acid in the diet and characterized by gastrointestinal disturbances, skin… …   English World dictionary

  • Pellagra — Klassifikation nach ICD 10 E52 Niazinmangel Pellagra …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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