Low Plasma Zinc Is Associated with Higher Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress and Faster Liver Fibrosis Development in the Miami Adult Studies in HIV Cohort

J Nutr. 2017 Apr;147(4):556-562. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.243832. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Background: Oxidative stress and reduced antioxidants may be a trigger for liver fibrogenesis. Reducing oxidative stress through higher antioxidant concentration may be a potential antifibrotic target.Objective: We aimed to investigate longitudinally whether plasma zinc, an antioxidant, is related to mitochondrial oxidative stress and the progression of liver fibrosis in the Miami Adult Studies in HIV (MASH) cohort.Methods: A prospective observational cohort study was conducted in 487 predominantly African American HIV-monoinfected and HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV)-coinfected adults with a mean ± SD age of 47.08 ± 7.67 y from the MASH cohort and followed for a median of 34 mo. Blood was collected for plasma zinc and measures were used to calculate the fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) score (aspartate amino transferase, alanine aminotransferase, and platelets). Plasma zinc deficiency was defined as <0.75 mg/L. Total DNA was extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) 8-hydroxyguanosine (8-oxo-dG) was determined. Adjusted mixed models were used to assess the relations between zinc, stage of liver disease, and oxidative stress over time and compared between HIV and HIV/HCV groups.Results: Zinc concentrations (β: -0.368, SE = 0.172; P = 0.033) and deficiency were associated with lower FIB-4 scores over time (β: 0.381, SE = 0.118; P = 0.001). Compared with those who were not zinc deficient, zinc-deficient participants had an increased risk of having more-progressed liver disease (OR: 1.91; 95% CI: 1.15, 3.16; P = 0.012). Higher mtDNA 8-oxo-dG was associated with zinc deficiency (β: 0.049, SE = 0.024; P = 0.044) and higher FIB-4 scores over time (β: 0.597, SE = 0.168, P < 0.001).Conclusions: Lower plasma zinc concentrations were associated with liver fibrosis progression and mitochondrial oxidative stress in the HIV and HIV/HCV groups. Zinc may play a role in the impact of liver disease outcomes.

Keywords: HIV; HIV/HCV coinfection; mtDNA 8-oxo-dG; oxidative stress; zinc.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Deficiency Diseases / blood
  • Deficiency Diseases / metabolism
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyguanosine / metabolism
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / blood
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology*
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Zinc / blood*


  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Deoxyguanosine
  • Zinc