A Search for Similar Patterns in Hair Trace Element and Mineral Content in Children with Down’s Syndrome, Obesity, and Growth Delay


The objective of the present study was to perform comparative analysis of hair trace element and mineral levels in children with Down’s syndrome, growth delay, and obesity in order to reveal common and specific patterns. Hair Zn (14, 7, and 15%), Ca (38%, 24%, and 47%), and Mg (33%, 31%, and 49%) levels in children with Down’s syndrome, obesity, and growth delay were lower than the respective control values. At the same time, patients with Down’s syndrome and growth delay were characterized by 27% and 21%, as well as 24% and 20% lower hair Co as well as Cu content than healthy examinees. Certain alterations were found to be disease-specific. Particularly, in Down’s syndrome children, hair Cr, Fe, and V levels were significantly lower, whereas hair P content exceeded the control values. Obese children were characterized by significantly increased hair Cr content. At the same time, hair Mn and Si levels in children with growth delay were lower as compared with the controls. In regression models, all three studied diseases were considered as negative predictors of hair Cu content. Down’s syndrome and growth delay, but not obesity, were inversely associated with hair Co content. Both Down’s syndrome and obesity were inversely associated with hair Zn content. Based on the revealed similarities in altered hair element, content it is proposed that deficiency of essential elements may predispose Down’s syndrome patients to certain syndrome comorbidities including growth delay and obesity, although further detailed studies are required.

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The current investigation is supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research within project no. 18-013-01026.

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Correspondence to Anatoly V. Skalny.

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The present study was performed in agreement with the ethical standards set in the Declaration of Helsinki (1964) and its later amendments. The protocol of the investigation was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee (Yaroslavl State University, Yaroslavl, Russia). Informed consent was obtained from the parents, who were informed about the study. All procedures involving children (hair sampling, anthropometric analysis) were performed in presence of parents or their legal representatives.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest

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Grabeklis, A.R., Skalny, A.V., Ajsuvakova, O.P. et al. A Search for Similar Patterns in Hair Trace Element and Mineral Content in Children with Down’s Syndrome, Obesity, and Growth Delay. Biol Trace Elem Res 196, 607–617 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-019-01938-6

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