Serum Iron Levels and Copper-to-Zinc Ratio in Sickle Cell Disease
and Objectives: Altered copper and zinc homeostasis may influence the antioxidant defense system and consequently lead to oxidative stress and associated complications in sickle cell disease (SCD) patients. Iron levels have been reported to increase in sickle cell patients due to frequent blood transfusion, chronic intravenous haemolysis and increased absorption of iron from the gastrointestinal tract. These elevated levels of iron may also lead to extensive oxidative damage. The current study
... The current study evaluated serum levels of iron, copper and zinc in SCD patients and "healthy" controls. Materials and Methods: The study was a cross-sectional one, comprising 90 SCD patients with Haemoglobin SS and Haemoglobin SC genotypes and 50 HbAA "healthy" controls. Serum levels of iron, copper and zinc were measured using a Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (Variant 240FS manufactured by VARIAN Australia Pty Ltd, VIC, Australia). Copper and zinc ratios were calculated and analyzed. Results: Serum levels of iron and copper were significantly elevated in the SCD patients, compared to their "healthy" counterparts (p < 0.001). These levels were further increased in patients with haemoglobin SS in vaso-occlusive crises (HbSS VOCs). Serum zinc levels were, however, significantly lower in the SCD patients, particularly during vaso-occlusion. The copper-to-zinc ratio was also found to be significantly higher in the SCD patients. Conclusion: Elevated copper-to-zinc ratio may be a biomarker of sickle cell oxidative stress and associated complications. The ratio may also be informative for the management of sickle cell oxidative burden. The significantly lower levels of zinc in the SCD patients may warrant zinc supplementation.