Trace Elements Associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Insulin Resistance
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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease of multifactorial origin. Studies have shown that trace elements such as zinc and copper may help maintain optimum function of the immune system and metabolism, while toxic metals such as lead may increase systemic autoimmunity. The current study aimed to assess the relationship between serum concentration of lithium (Li), vanadium (V), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), molybdenum (Mo), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb) and SLE diagnosis, disease activity measured by SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) and insulin resistance (IR). This case-control, cross-sectional study included 225 patients, 120 healthy controls, and 105 SLE patients. Serum concentration of Li, V, Cu, Zn, Mo, Cd, and Pb was measured. Serum concentrations of V (p < 0.001), Zn (p < 0.001), and Pb (p < 0.001) were lower and Mo (p < 0.001) and Li (p < 0.001) were higher in patients with SLE compared to healthy controls. SLE diagnosis was associated with higher serum Li (p < 0.001) concentration and lower V (p < 0.001), Zn (p = 0.003), and Pb (p = 0.020). Toxic metals and trace elements were not associated with disease activity. Levels of Cd were higher in patients with IR (p = 0.042). There was no significant association between IR and the other metals. The results indicate that SLE patients have different profiles of trace elements and toxic metals compared to healthy controls. While some toxic metals and trace elements were found to be associated with SLE diagnosis, they had no effect on disease activity and IR.
KeywordsSLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) Heavy metals Trace elements Insulin resistance Glucose homeostasis
This study was supported by Laboratory of Atomic Emission Spectrometry (LAES) from State University of Londrina- Parana State, Brazil.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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