Trace element and magnesium levels and superoxide dismutase activity in rheumatoid arthritis

Biol Trace Elem Res. 1999 May;68(2):137-42. doi: 10.1007/BF02784402.


It has been suggested that reactive oxygen metabolites and trace elements play some role in the etiology and pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is believed to exert an important protective role against oxygen toxicity. The aim of the study was to investigate the probable changes in the levels of trace elements and SOD activity in RA. Plasma and erythrocyte copper, zinc, and magnesium levels and erythrocyte SOD activity were measured in groups of controls and RA cases. Significantly increased erythrocyte SOD activity was found in RA patients in comparison with controls (p < 0.0001). A rise in erythrocyte Zn level (p < 0.0001) and plasma Cu level (p < 0.0001) and a decrease in erythrocyte Cu level (p < 0.05) and plasma Zn level (p < 0.05) were obtained in RA patients when compared to controls. Plasma and erythrocyte Mg levels of the RA patients showed slight and statistically insignificant reductions when compared to controls (p > 0.05). In RA patients, there were positive correlations between erythrocyte SOD activity and Mg level (r = 0.4345, p < 0.01) and between erythrocyte Zn level and plasma Cu level (r = 0.4132, p < 0.01). There were negative correlations between erythrocyte SOD activity and plasma Zn level (r = -0.3605, p < 0.05) and between plasma Zn level and erythrocyte Cu level (r = -0.4578, p < 0.01) in RA patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood*
  • Trace Elements / blood*


  • Trace Elements
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Magnesium