Blood micronutrient, oxidative stress, and viral load in patients with chronic hepatitis C

World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Aug 14;11(30):4697-702. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v11.i30.4697.


Aim: To assess the extent of micronutrient and oxidative stress in blood and to examine their linkages with viral loads in chronic hepatitis C patients.

Methods: Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-RNA levels were quantified in the serum from 37 previously untreated patients with chronic hepatitis C. The plasma and erythrocyte micronutrients (zinc, selenium, copper, and iron) were estimated, and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents were determined as a marker to detect oxidative stress. Antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and glutathione reductase (GR) activities in blood were also measured. The control group contained 31 healthy volunteers.

Results: The contents of zinc (Zn), and selenium (Se) in plasma and erythrocytes were significantly lower in hepatitis C patients than in the controls. On the contrary, copper (Cu) levels were significantly higher. Furthermore, plasma and erythrocyte MDA levels, and the SOD and GR activities in erythrocytes significantly increased in hepatitis C patients compared to the controls. However, the plasma GPX activity in patients was markedly lower. Plasma Se (r = -0.730, P<0.05), Cu (r = 0.635), and GPX (r = -0.675) demonstrated correlations with HCV-RNA loads. Significant correlation coefficients were also observed between HCV-RNA levels and erythrocyte Zn (r = -0.403), Se (r = -0.544), Cu (r = 0.701) and MDA (r = 0.629) and GR (r = 0.441).

Conclusion: The levels of Zn, Se, Cu, and oxidative stress (MDA), as well as related anti-oxidative enzymes (GR and GPX) in blood have important impact on the viral factors in chronic hepatitis C. The distribution of these parameters might be significant biomarkers for HCV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B virus / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / blood*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / virology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Micronutrients / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Viremia / blood
  • Viremia / virology


  • Antioxidants
  • Micronutrients
  • RNA, Viral
  • Malondialdehyde