Serum Iron, Zinc, and Copper Levels in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease: A Replication Study and Meta-Analyses.J Alzheimers Dis 2015; 47(3):565-81JA
To evaluate whether iron, zinc, and copper levels in serum are disarranged in Alzheimer's disease (AD), we performed meta-analyses of all studies on the topic published from 1984 to 2014 and contextually carried out a replication study in serum as well. Our meta-analysis results showed that serum zinc was significantly lower in AD patients. Our replication and meta-analysis results showed that serum copper was significantly higher in AD patients than in healthy controls, so our findings were consistent with the conclusions of four previously published copper meta-analyses. Even if a possible role of iron in the pathophysiology of the disease could not be ruled out, the results of our meta-analysis showed no change of serum iron levels in AD patients, but this conclusion was not robust and requires further investigation. The meta-regression analyses revealed that in some studies, differences in serum iron levels could be due to the different mean ages, while differences in zinc levels appeared to be due to the different sex ratios. However, the effect of sex ratio on serum zinc levels in our meta-analysis is subtle and needs further confirmation. Also, diverse demographic terms and methodological approaches appeared not to explain the high heterogeneity of our copper meta-analysis. Therefore, when investigating trace elements, covariants such as age and sex have to be taken into account in the analyses. In the light of these findings, we suggest that the possible alteration of serum zinc and copper levels are involved in the pathogenesis of AD.