Research on zinc blood levels and nutritional status in adolescents with autoimmune hepatitis

Arq Gastroenterol. 2011 Jan-Mar;48(1):62-5. doi: 10.1590/s0004-28032011000100013.


Context: Zinc deficiency in children and adolescents impairs their growing, development and immune system.

Objectives: To verify the existence of plasma and leukocyte zinc deficiency in adolescents with autoimmune hepatitis.

Methods: The study comprised 23 patients with autoimmune hepatitis, aged 10-18 years, assisted at the Ambulatory Service of Pediatric Hepatology of the University of Campinas Teaching Hospital, Campinas, SP, Brazil, and adolescents with ages compatible with the patients' ages comprised the control group. Sample of blood in both groups was collected for the analyses of plasma zinc and leukocyte zinc by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, beyond the nutritional status was evaluated in each adolescent. The following statistical tests were used: Mann-Whitney, Spearman's correlation and interclass concordance analysis.

Results: The significance level adopted was 5%. The average zinc level in plasma in patients was 71.91 ± 11.79 µg/dL and, in the control group, it was 80.74 ± 10.92 µg/dL, showing a significant difference (P = 0.04). The leukocyte zinc level in patients was 222.33 ± 166.13 pmol/10⁶ cells and, in the control group, it was 226.64 ± 217.81 pmol/10⁶ cells; there was no statistical significance between them (P = 0.45).

Conclusion: The evaluation of the nutritional status showed that eutrophy is prevalent in patients, and they presented a higher body fat value than the control group, with a significant difference. More research is needed with adolescents with autoimmune hepatitis regarding levels of essential micronutrients, such as zinc, because a good nutritional status can improve the prognostic of liver disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Autoimmune / blood*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / deficiency*


  • Zinc