Variations in zinc and copper concentrations in hair in a group of adolescents with schistosomiasis

A.A.tas, S.A.; Qahtan, Z.S.

University of Aden Journal of Natural and Applied Sciences 6(1): 213-218


ISSN/ISBN: 1606-8947
Accession: 004003359

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Since the concentrations of elements in the plasma vary due to many factors from day to day, it is useful to determine the contents of elements in hair which evaluates the nutritional state of those persons for the previous three or four months. The content of elements in hair reflects the reserves of these elements in the body. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the effect of schistosomiasis on the levels of zinc and copper in the body of adolescent school children whose mean age ranged between 12.2 and 13.3 years. They live in a boarding school, and they came from different governorates of Yemen. All the school children underwent clinical and physical examinations, and were evaluated for their nutritional state. All the subjects were examined for the parasitic infections by faecal and urine examinations. 70 children were included, and were divided into four groups: control group (n=18), S. mansoni-infected group (n=37), S. haematobium-infected group (n=11) and S. mansoni-S. haematobium-infected group (n=4). The hair samples were obtained from the scalps of the individuals. They were washed and dried and about 100 mg of hair from each individual was weighed and burned at 450 degrees C for about one hour. The solutions were read in duplicate by atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Pye Unicum SP 191) for zinc and copper determinations. There were low levels of zinc in hair in the three groups infected with schistosomes compared to the control group; with a significant difference in the S. mansoni group (p<=0.05). For copper, all the groups had diminished content of hair copper with a significant value in the S. mansoni-infected group (p<=0.05).