Trace elements in sickle cell disease

JAMA. 1976 May 31;235(22):2396-8.


Trace elements in 84 adult patients (38 men and 46 women) with sickle cell disease (SCD) were reflected in clinical and biochemical data. Height was retarded in six men and five women. Eighty percent of the SCD patients in this sample were below the 50th percentile from the normal mean for weight. Twenty-eight men showed a lack of facial and body hair, and five additional subjects showed only scanty facial hair. Whereas zinc in plasma, red blood cells, and hair was decreased, the excretion of zinc in urine was increased in SCD patients as compared to the controls. We believe that one of the mechanisms accounting for zinc deficiency in SCD may be hyperzincuria and that growth retardation and hypogonadism in men so commonly seen in SCD may be related to zinc deficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / complications*
  • Body Height
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / drug therapy
  • Growth Disorders / etiology
  • Hair / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / etiology
  • Leg Ulcer / etiology
  • Male
  • Menstruation Disturbances / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Zinc / deficiency*
  • Zinc / therapeutic use
  • Zinc / urine


  • Zinc