Zinc and copper status in children with bronchial asthma and atopic dermatitis

J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 1990;65(5-6):657-68.


The study comprised 40 children of both sexes aged from 2 to 12 years, 22 suffering from bronchial asthma and 18 suffering from atopic dermatitis. Twenty healthy children of comparable age and sex to the patients were studied as controls. All the children were subjected to full history including dietetic questionnaire, thorough examination, and to estimation of serum IgE, serum ceruloplasmin, and zinc and copper levels in both serum and hairs. The mean concentrations of zinc in serum and hairs were respectively 70.3 +/- 13.2 micrograms/100 ml and 167.5 +/- 23.0 micrograms/gm in asthmatic cases and 65.9 +/- 11.7 micrograms/100 ml and 164.8 +/- 23.6 micrograms/gm in those with atopic dermatitis. These levels were significantly (p less than 0.001) decreased in comparison to the control values (88.4 +/- 11.0 micrograms/100 ml and 194.5 +/- 18.6 micrograms/gm). On the other hand, a significant (p less than 0.001) increase in serum and hairs copper was demonstrated in both allergic groups compared to the controls. Mean copper values were respectively 79.5 +/- 8.06 micrograms/100 ml and 18.7 +/- 1.9 micrograms/gm in the asthmatic cases and 81.4 +/- 8.4 micrograms/100 ml and 17.8 +/- 2.08 micrograms/gm in cases with atopic dermatitis. The control mean concentrations were 67.95 +/- 6.37 micrograms/100 ml and 14.5 +/- 2.53 micrograms/gm respectively. Significant (p less than 0.001) higher levels of serum ceruloplasmin were observed in the allergic patients compared to the controls and were correlated with the hypercupremia. The results were discussed and a good dietetic intake of high biological value protein and zinc supplement was recommended to these patients in order to correct their disturbances especially the hypozincemia which could lead to exaggeration of their allergic conditions. The field of trace elements metabolism has grown rapidly over the past few years, particularly after the development of novel techniques as the atomic absorption spectrophotometry which had allowed the reliable measurements of several trace elements in tissues and so had opened a new field for many researches (Henkin, 1976). Zinc and copper are involved in cell and tissue growth. Zinc plays an important role in DNA and protein synthesis and is intimately involved with copper as cofactors in several important enzyme systems. The effects of many pathological conditions as congestive heart failure, pneumonia, rheumatic heart diseases, bronchitis, recurrent infection, hemolytic anemia, psoriasis, and malnutrition on the levels of serum zinc, copper, and other trace elements have been of interest to investigators for a number of years (Sinha and Gabrieli, 1970; David et al., 1984).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / blood*
  • Asthma / complications
  • Ceruloplasmin / chemistry
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Copper / analysis
  • Copper / blood*
  • Copper / deficiency
  • Deficiency Diseases / blood*
  • Deficiency Diseases / complications
  • Deficiency Diseases / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / blood*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / complications
  • Diet Surveys
  • Egypt / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hair / chemistry
  • Hospitals, General
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Male
  • Zinc / analysis
  • Zinc / blood*
  • Zinc / deficiency


  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Copper
  • Ceruloplasmin
  • Zinc