Acrodermatitis Enteropathica: Case Report and Review of the Literature


Address correspondence to Antônio Sanches, Jr., M.D., Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, or e-mail:


Abstract:  Acrodermatitis enteropathica (AE) is a rare hereditary disorder caused by impaired absorption of zinc from the gastrointestinal tract. It is characterized by acral and periorificial dermatitis, alopecia, and diarrhea. Symptoms usually begin on weaning from breast or formula feeding. We report a full-term, 21-month-old boy with typical skin lesions and decreased plasma zinc level (12 µg/dl). The patient was given zinc sulfate 40 mg/day and at the end of 1 month his condition had improved significantly. After reviewing the literature we emphasize the important role of zinc in human metabolism and the difference between AE and acquired zinc deficiencies.