Relationship of blood trace elements to liver damage, nutritional status, and oxidative stress in chronic nonalcoholic liver disease.Biol Trace Elem Res 2001; 81(3):245-54BT
Trace elements are involved in chronic liver diseases because these elements may have a direct hepatic toxicity or may be decreased as a consequence of the impaired liver function, particularly in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis and/or malnutrition. In this study, we determined plasma and erythrocytes trace elements in 50 inpatients with nonalcoholic chronic liver disease (11 with biopsy-proven chronic hepatitis, 39 with cirrhosis [16 in stage A according to Child-Pugh criteria, 23 Child B+C]), and in a control group of 10 healthy subjects by the proton induced x-ray emission method. The relationship between trace element concentration and the extent of liver damage, the nutritional status (by anthropometric evaluations), and various blood markers of oxidative stress--reduced glutathione, total lipoperoxides and malonyldialdehyde--was investigated. We found that cirrhotics had a significant decrease of Fe, Zn, Se, and GSH levels in the plasma and of GSH and Se in the erythrocytes with respect to the control and chronic hepatitis groups. GSH levels were related to the degree of liver damage; a significant direct correlation was observed among Se, Zn, and GSH plasma values and between GSH and Se in the erythrocytes. The trace element decrease was, on the contrary, independent of the degree of liver function impairment and only partially affected by the nutritional status. Data indicate that liver cirrhosis, even if not alcohol related, induces a decrease of Se and Zn and that, in these patients, an oxidative stress is present, as documented by the significant correlation between Se and GSH. The plasma Br level was higher in cirrhotics with respect to the control and chronic hepatitis groups.