Plasma zinc and copper in primary and secondary immunodeficiency disorders

James M. Oleske, John D. Bogden, Roberto Garcia, Antonio Della Gruz, Roger Cooper, Anthony B. Minnefor

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Plasma copper and zinc concentrations were measured in 58 patients with a laboratory-confirmed primary or secondary immunodeficiency. Patients with severe combined immunodeficiency, collagen vascular disease with depressed cell-mediated immunity, and acquired or congenital acrodermatitis enteropathica had mean plasma zinc concentrations substantially below the lower limit of normal. In contrast, patients with primary humoral and polymorphonuclear leukocyte defects had normal plasma zinc concentrations. Patients with primary polymorphonuclear leukocyte defects had a mean plasma copper concentration substantially above the upper limit of normal. Those subjects with primary humoral immunity defects also had significantly elevated plasma copper concentrations in comparison to controls. Plasma copper concentrations in patients with severe combined immunodeficiency or acrodermatitis enteropathica were normal. Cutis laxa patients had low plasma zinc and copper concentrations. These data demonstrate that zinc and copper homeostasis are altered in come immunodeficiency disorders and may be important factors in host defenses. Since it is known that cellular immunity is impaired by zinc deficiency, patients with primary and secondary immunodeficiency states with appropriately documented mild or severe zinc deficiency should receive zinc supplements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-194
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Inorganic Chemistry


  • Trace metals, in immunodeficiency
  • copper, in immunodeficiency
  • immunodeficiency, plasma Cu and Zn in
  • plasma Cu and Zn, in immunodeficiency diseases
  • zinc, in immunodeficiency


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