British Journal of Nutrition

General Nutrition

Flavin metabolism during respiratory infection in mice

Sangeetha Brijlala1, A. V Lakshmia1*, Mahtab S. Bamjia1 and P. Suresha1

a1 Department of Biochemistry, National Institute of Nutrition, Jamai Osmania, Hyderabad-500 007, India


Previous control studies carried out in children showed that respiratory infection alters riboflavin metabolism and leads to excessive urinary losses of the vitamin. In order to understand the nature of biochemical changes in riboflavin metabolism during respiratory infection, a study was carried out using the mouse as the experimental model, and Klebsiella pneumonjue as the infective organism. Mice were fed on either a low(0·5 mg/kg)- or high(13·3 mg/kg)-riboflavin semi-synthetic diet. Infection resulted in a 5–6-fold higher excretion of riboflavin in the urine of mice fed on the low-riboflavin diet. Higher erythrocyte FAD levels and lower liver FAD levels were also observed during infection. Of the four enzymes involved in the synthesis and breakdownof the flavin coenzymes studied, the activity of hepatic flavokinase (ATP: riboflavin 5'-phosphotransferase; EC was significantly lower, and that of FAD synthetase (ATP: FMN adenylyltransferase; EC was higher during riboflavin restriction and infection. The activity of FMN (acid) phosphatase (EC was unchanged, whereas FAD (nucleotide) pyrophosphatase (EC activity was significantly higher both with the low-riboflavin diet and during infection. Thyroid hormone is known to modulate flavokinase activity and, hence, thyroid status was assessed. Plasma triiodothyronine (T3) levels were not affected, but thyroxine levels were lower in the mice fed on the low-riboflavin diet. However, plasma T3 was significantly lower during infection, suggesting a mechanistic role for the hormone in the reduction of flavokinase activity.

(Received July 03 1995)

(Revised November 06 1995)

(Accepted December 21 1995)


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