Elaine Marieb College of Nursing Faculty Publication Series

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Biological Trace Element Research


Low zinc levels and chronic inflammation are common in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Zinc deficiency may promote systemic inflammation, but research on the role of zinc in inflammation among HIV-positive individuals taking account of antiretroviral therapy is lacking. We assessed the association between serum zinc and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration in a cohort of HIV-positive individuals. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 311 HIV-positive individuals (177 men and 134 women) aged 18–60 years residing in Kathmandu, Nepal. High-sensitive or regular serum CRP concentrations were measured by the latex agglutination nephelometry or turbidimetric method, and zinc concentrations were measured by the atomic absorption method. Relationships were assessed using multiple linear regression analysis. The geometric means of zinc in men and women were 73.83 and 71.93 ug/dL, respectively, and of CRP were 1.64 and 0.96 mg/L, respectively. Mean serum CRP concentration was significantly decreased with increasing serum zinc concentration across zinc tertiles (P for trend=0.010), with mean serum CRP concentration in the highest tertile of serum zinc concentration was 44.2 % lower than that in the lowest tertile. The mean serum CRP concentrations in men and women in the highest tertile of serum zinc concentrations were 30 and 35.9% lower, respectively, than that in the lowest tertile (P for trend=0.263 and 0.162, respectively). We found a significant inverse relation between log zinc and log CRP concentrations (beta for 1 unit change in log zinc; β=−1.79, p=0.0003). Serum zinc concentration may be inversely associated with serum CRP concentration in HIV-positive individuals.