Biometals : an international journal on the role of metal ions in biology, biochemistry, and medicine

Alterations in zinc binding capacity, free zinc levels and total serum zinc in a porcine model of sepsis.

PMID 25940830


Zinc is crucial for immune function. In addition, the redistribution of zinc and other nutrients due to infection is an integral part of the host immune response to limit availability to pathogens. However, the major zinc binding protein albumin is down regulated during the acute phase response, implicating a decrease in zinc binding capacity. A prospective animal study with eight female German landrace pigs was conducted to investigate alterations in zinc binding capacity, total serum zinc and free zinc levels in the initial phase of sepsis. Sepsis was induced by instillation of autologous feces via midline laparotomy. Total serum zinc declined significantly after 1 h (10.89 ± 0.42 µM vs. 7.67 ± 0.41 µM, p < 0.001), total serum copper and iron reached a significant reduction at 4 h. Urinary excretion of zinc declined in line with total serum zinc. In comparison to total serum zinc, free zinc levels declined to a lesser, though significant, extent. Zinc binding capacity of serum decreased over time, whereby free zinc levels after addition of zinc correlated negatively with total serum protein and albumin levels. In addition IL-6 and TNF-α concentrations were measured and increased significantly 2 h after induction of sepsis. Hence, total serum zinc was the first marker of inflammation in our experiment, and might therefore be a promising biomarker for the early diagnosis of sepsis. Furthermore the observation of a substantially different serum free zinc homeostasis during sepsis provides valuable information for a potential therapeutic zinc supplementation, which has to take buffering capacity by serum proteins into account.

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