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Transl Res. 2008 Aug;152(2):67-80. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2008.06.001. Epub 2008 Jul 11.

Zinc supplementation decreases oxidative stress, incidence of infection, and generation of inflammatory cytokines in sickle cell disease patients.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Zinc deficiency is common in adult sickle-cell disease (SCD) patients. We previously demonstrated that zinc supplementation to adult SCD patients decreased the incidences of infections and hospital admissions. We hypothesize that zinc supplementation improves T-helper cell function and decreases vascular endothelial cell activation, oxidative stress, and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB)-DNA binding in mononuclear cells (MNCs) in SCD patients. To test this hypothesis, 36 SCD patients were recruited and randomly divided into 2 groups. One group (n = 18) received 25-mg zinc orally thrice a day for 3 months. The other group (n = 18) received placebo. The results indicate that the zinc-supplemented group had decreased incidence of infections compared with the placebo group. After zinc supplementation, red blood cell, hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit, (Hct), plasma zinc, and antioxidant power increased; plasma nitrite and nitrate (NOx), lipid peroxidation products, DNA oxidation products, and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 decreased in the zinc-supplemented group, compared with the placebo group. Zinc-supplemented patients exhibited significant decreases in lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and IL-1beta mRNAs, and TNF-induced nuclear factor of kappaB-DNA binding in MNCs, compared with the placebo group. Ex vivo addition of zinc to MNCs isolated from the placebo subjects decreased TNF-alpha and IL-1beta mRNAs. Zinc supplementation also increased relative levels of IL-2 and IL-2Ralpha mRNAs in phytohemagglutinin-p-stimulated MNCs. These results suggest that zinc supplementation may be beneficial to SCD patients.

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