Serum zinc and copper levels in children with chronic renal failure

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Abstract

We evaluated changes in serum zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) levels in two groups of children with chronic renal failure (CRF) - children with CRF who were on regular hemodialysis (Group 1, n=40) and children with CRF who were on conservative management (Group 2, n=31) - and in one group of healthy children (Group 3, n=30). All of the participants in the study were between 5-18 years old, and the composition of the three groups was almost identical with respect to age and sex. The length of time the children in Group 1 had been on hemodialysis varied between 3 and 52 months (mean: 20.97±14.8 months). To evaluate the impact of the duration of dialysis on serum levels of Zn, we further sub-divided Group 1 patients into two subgroups: Subgroup A patients (n=20) had been on hemodialysis therapy for less than 18 months (mean: 8.85±4.83 months); Subgroup B patients (n=20) had been on hemodialysis therapy for longer than 18 months (mean: 33.1±10.86 months). The PIXE (proton-induced X-ray emission) was used for measuring the trace elements. Results: The mean serum level of Zn was lower in the Group 1 (hemodialysis group) children than in the children of Group 2 (on conservative management) and group 3 (healthy children) (p<0.001), but the difference was not significant between Groups 2 and 3. No significant differences in serum levels of Cu were found among the three groups. The serum level of Zn was lower in Subgroup B than in Subgroup A (p<0.001). The correlation test showed that there was an inverse linear relation between the length of time the child was on the hemodialysis regimen and serum Zn levels. Conclusion: Chronic hemodialysis may lead to abnormalities in the serum levels of some trace elements in children with CRF that increase in severity with increasing duration of hemodialysis. Deficiencies of these trace elements - zinc in particular - may contribute to various conditions and symptoms in children undergoing chronic hemodialysis.

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