Main biomarkers associated with age-related plasma zinc decrease and copper/zinc ratio in healthy elderly from ZincAge study

R. Giacconi*, L. Costarelli, F. Piacenza, A. Basso, L. Rink, E. Mariani, T. Fulop, G. Dedoussis, G. Herbein, M. Provinciali, J. Jajte, I. Lengyel, E. Mocchegiani, M. Malavolta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Zinc (Zn) plays an essential role in many biological processes including immune response. Impaired Zn status promotes immune dysfunction, and it has been associated with enhanced chronic inflammation during aging. It has been suggested that the measurement of circulating Zn by itself could not reflect the real Zn status of an individual. It is therefore necessary to identify other determinants associated with plasma Zn to better understanding how physiopathological conditions during aging may affect the concentration of this metal. 

Methods: We have investigated the association between Zn levels and some biomarkers in 1090 healthy elderly from five European countries to increase the accuracy in the assessment of the Zn status. Stepwise multivariate linear regression models were used to analyze the influence of factors such as age, dietary intake, inflammatory mediators, laboratory parameters and polymorphisms previously associated with Zn homeostasis. 

Results: Plasma Zn decrement was most strongly predicted by age, while positive correlations were found with albumin, RANTES and Zn intake after adjustment for multiple confounders. HSP70 +1267 AA genotype was an independent factor associated with Zn plasma concentrations. Cu/Zn ratio was positively associated with markers of systemic inflammation and age and negatively associated with albumin serum levels. 

Conclusions: Our findings show the most important independent determinants of plasma Zn concentration and Cu/Zn ratio variability in elderly population and suggest that the decline with age of Zn circulating levels is more dependent on physiopathological changes occurring with aging rather than to its nutritional intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Early online date26 Jul 2016
Publication statusEarly online date - 26 Jul 2016


  • Aging
  • Inflammation
  • Polymorphisms
  • Zinc homeostasis
  • Zinc plasma levels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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