Zinc and copper levels in preeclampsia: a study from coastal South India

Deepa V. Kanagal, Aparna Rajesh, Kavyarashmi Rao, Harish Shetty, Prasanna Kumar Shetty, Harshinidevi Ullal


Background: Preeclampsia is one of the major causes of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Though the etiology is obscure, studies indicate the role of oxidative stress and antioxidants may have a role in the prevention of preeclampsia. Micronutrients such as copper and zinc are involved in the antioxidant defense mechanism.

Methods: The present study was undertaken in a medical college hospital in coastal South India to assess the serum levels of zinc and copper in women with preeclampsia and to compare them with normal pregnant women. The blood samples from 60 preeclamptic women and an equal number of controls were analyzed for zinc and copper levels. Outcome of pregnancy was analyzed and compared. Data were expressed as mean ± standard deviation. Comparison of levels of the elements between the two groups was performed by independent t test and Chi square test and P value of <0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: The serum zinc and copper levels were significantly lower in the preeclamptic group compared to the normotensives. Also preeclamptic women were older, their BMI was higher and birth weight of babies lower compared to normotensives.

Conclusions: Increased knowledge about the importance of specific antioxidant micronutrients and their part in successful pregnancy outcome should be the focus for future health strategies. Low levels of maternal copper and zinc are related to preeclampsia and might have a causal role in this disease. Further investigation is needed to establish the role of these elements in this dangerous condition of pregnancy.


Copper, Micronutrients, Nutrition, Preeclampsia, Zinc

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