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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


MARTINEZ-PEINADO, Manuel et al. Serum zinc and copper concentrations and ratios in cirrhotic patients: correlation with severity index. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2018, vol.35, n.3, pp.627-632. ISSN 1699-5198.


zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) are essential elements that play an important role in the whole-body metabolism and seems to have a role in the pathogenesis of the liver cirrhosis (LC).


the aim of this study is to evaluate the influence on serum Zn and Cu concentrations and Cu/Zn ratios of different factors like cirrhosis, severity index, age, sex, death, and disease complications.


ninety-three patients with LC were included. The severity index was measured by the Child-Pugh index (CPI).


mean serum Cu concentration and Cu/Zn ratio were significantly higher in patients than in healthy controls (p ≤ 0.001). Serum Zn concentrations were reduced with higher cirrhosis severity (specifically low vs medium severity CPI, p < 0.05). Mean serum Cu concentration was significantly higher in the oldest (> 50 years) versus youngest (< 30 years) age group. Serum Zn concentrations were lower and Cu/Zn ratios were higher (p < 0.05) in patients that died. Among complications, significantly higher serum Zn concentrations were found in cirrhotic patients with ascites than in those with bacteremia-sepsis.


levels of Zn, Cu and Cu/Zn ratio are affected by the presence of hepatic cirrhosis. Serum Zn concentrations are lower with higher severity of cirrhosis, while those for Cu are increased in cirrhotic patients. We can observe that the presence of elevated Cu/Zn ratios in these patients might be useful in the evaluation of suspected liver cirrhosis.

Keywords : Serum Zn and Cu levels; Cu/Zn ratios; Severity index score; Liver cirrhosis.

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