Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 73, Issue 2, pp 139–149 | Cite as

Zinc serum level in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients in relation to immunological status

  • Nele Wellinghausen
  • Winfried V. Kern
  • Wolfgang Jöchle
  • Peter Kern


In human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, serum level of zinc, an important micronutrient for immune function, is frequently diminished. The aim of this study was to determine the zinc status in relation to immunological parameters and disease stage in 79 HIV-1 seropositive patients. The median serum level of zinc was within normal limits (12.5 µmol/L) but in 23% of patients, zinc deficiency was seen. Decreased serum zinc was associated with a low CD4 cell count, high viral load, and increased neopterin and IgA levels. According to current treatment recommendations, the majority of patients received antiretroviral triple therapy. Zinc levels in treated and untreated patients were comparable. Referring to disease stage (CDC classification, 1993), the mean zinc level was highest in stage C and lowest in stage A. In conclusion, even under antiretroviral triple therapy, zinc deficiency is still of great importance in HIV infection, and zinc substitution in zinc deficient individuals should be taken into account to optimize therapeutical success.

Index Entries

Zinc human immunodeficiency virus immunology antiretroviral therapy 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nele Wellinghausen
    • 1
  • Winfried V. Kern
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Jöchle
    • 2
  • Peter Kern
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Infectious Diseases and Clinical ImmunologyMedical University of UlmUlmGermany
  2. 2.Department of Clinical ChemistryMedical University of UlmUlmGermany

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