Background: Asthma is associated with increased inflammation, oxidative stress and abnormal immune system function. We determined the distributions of several essential trace minerals and assessed their relationships to factors that are associated with the pathophysiological status of patients with mild/moderate asthma.
Methods: We enrolled 25 asthmatic patients and 25 healthy subjects. We measured: blood trace minerals, zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and selenium (Se); oxidative stress markers thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS); antioxidant enzyme activities; percentages of CD4 and CD8 lymphocyte subsets; high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP); and a lung function index (FEV1/FVC%).
Results: Compared with healthy subjects, asthmatics had lower concentrations of Zn and Se; higher Cu concentrations, and Cu/Zn and Cu/Se ratios; and lower antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR) and catalase activities. Significantly increased concentrations of hs-CRP, TBARS and CD4/CD8 lymphocyte ratios were also observed. Furthermore, plasma TBARS or hs-CRP concentrations were negatively associated with Se concentrations, but were positively associated with Cu/Se ratios. CD4/CD8 lymphocyte ratios were inversely correlated with Se, while it was positively correlated with Cu/Se ratio. FEV1/FVC% was also significantly correlated with Se concentrations, and Cu/Se and Cu/Zn ratios.
Conclusions: Abnormal distributions of these trace minerals may aggravate oxidative damage and inflammation, increased CD4/CD8 lymphocyte ratios and decreased lung function in asthma.