Potentially-toxic and essential elements profile of AH1N1 patients in Mexico City

Sci Rep. 2013:3:1284. doi: 10.1038/srep01284.


During spring of 2009, a new influenza virus AH1N1 spread in the world causing acute respiratory illness and death, resulting in the first influenza pandemic since 1968. Blood levels of potentially-toxic and essential elements of 40 pneumonia and confirmed AH1N1 were evaluated against two different groups of controls, both not infected with the pandemic strain. Significant concentrations of potentially-toxic elements (lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic) along with deficiency of selenium or increased Zn/Cu ratios characterized AH1N1 cases under study when evaluated versus controlled cases. Deficiency of selenium is progressively observed from controls I (influenza like illness) through controls II (pneumonia) and finally pneumonia-AH1N1 infected patients. Cases with blood Se levels greater than the recommended for an optimal cut-off to activate glutathione peroxidase (12.5 μg/dL) recovered from illness and survived. Evaluation of this essential element in critical pneumonia patients at the National Institutes is under evaluation as a clinical trial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arsenic / blood
  • Cadmium / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / blood
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / isolation & purification
  • Influenza, Human / blood*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Lead / blood
  • Male
  • Mercury / blood
  • Metals / blood*
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia / blood
  • Pneumonia / diagnosis
  • Selenium / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Metals
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Mercury
  • Selenium
  • Arsenic