pellagra (pəlăgˈrə), deficiency disease due to a lack of niacin (nicotinic acid), one of the components of the B complex vitamins in the diet. Niacin is plentiful in yeast, organ meats, peanuts, and wheat germ. The disease manifests itself in lesions of the skin and mucous membrane, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, neurological derangement, and mental confusion. It is most common in areas where the diet consists mainly of corn, which, unlike other grains, lacks niacin as well as the amino acid tryptophan, which the body uses to synthesize the vitamin. Treatment includes large doses of niacin and the institution of a proper diet to prevent recurrences.
See D. A. Roe, A Plague of Corn: A Social History of Pellagra (1973).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
avitaminosis caused by a vitamin PP (nicotinic acid) deficiency. It is manifested by disorders of the skin (dermatitis, generally on the face and neck), alimentary canal (ulceration of the lingual and intestinal mucosa and impairment of gastric secretion and motility), and nervous system (polyneuritis). Treatment involves the administration of nicotinic acid, usually combined with other B-complex vitamins, and adherence to a balanced diet, which includes foods rich in the B vitamins (yeast, liver, eggs, beans) and tryptophan (milk), from which vitamin PP is synthesized in the body.
REFERENCEEfremov, V. Pellagra: Etiologiia, patogenez i klinika. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
A disease caused by nicotinic acid deficiency characterized by skin lesions, inflammation of the soft tissues of the mouth, diarrhea, and central nervous system disorders.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Pathol a disease caused by a dietary deficiency of nicotinic acid, characterized by burning or itching often followed by scaling of the skin, inflammation of the mouth, diarrhoea, mental impairment, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005