Changes in serum zinc, magnesium and copper in sickle cell patients: A case study in Jos, Nigeria

Author : Asanga Edet E, Eseyin Olorunfemi A, Ekanem Aniebiet N, Amaechi Dennis

This research was designed to understudy trace elements (zinc, magnesium and copper) implications in 120 subjects (60 sickle cell anemia patients and 60 non-sickle cell individuals) attending clinic at Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. Their blood samples were collected and their sera used for the estimation of zinc, magnesium and copper using inductively coupled Plasma-optical emission spectrometry technique. Their Mean SEM values for zinc, magnesium and Copper in 60 sickle cell anemic patients are 64.5 5.9 g/dL, 5.7 1.7 mg/ L and 2.1 0.1 mg/L, respectively. While those of normal or non-sickle cell patients i.e. control were 94.5 4.8 g/dL, 16.8 2.9 mg/L and 1.9 0.1 mg/L, for zinc, magnesium and copper, respectively). The result showed significant decrease (p < 0.05) in zinc and magnesium levels of sickle cell patients when compared with non- sickle cell subjects (control). Copper which have been implicated in antagonizing zinc for the same binding site showed no significant change in sickle cell patients when compared with the Hb-AA control group. Growth retardation factors (height and weight) significantly decreased (p < 0.05) in sickle cell patients when compared with control group. These results confirm that zinc and magnesium are deficient in sickle cell patients hence, trace element supplementation may be necessary in the management of sickle cell disease as it will arrest oxidative stress and per-oxidation with resultant stability of erythrocyte membranes as well as reduction in the rate of hemolysis and other symptoms often noticed in sickle cell anemic patients.

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