Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Zinc status and age-related changes in peripheral blood leukocyte sub-populations in healthy men and women aged 55-70 years

The objective of this study was to determine Zn status and age-related changes in immune function of healthy late-middle-aged men and women (aged 55-70y). Observational study was performed in Northern Ireland apparently healthy, free-living individuals (45 men, 48 women) aged 55 -70y. Zn status markers were analysed by flame atomic absorption spectrometry and commercially available kits.

Immune function was assessed by flow cytometry. Serum and erythrocyte Zn concentrations were 13.0 (SD 1.40)µmol/l and 222 (SD 48.2)µmol/l, respectively. Serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) concentrations were 76.8 (16.1 SD) U/l; women showed significantly higher concentrations of ALP (P=0.011). Women demonstrated: a significant inverse correlation in naive T-lymphocytes, specifically naive T-helper lymphocytes (% expression, r = -0.364 P=0.007 & absolute count, r = -0.275 P = 0.036) with age; and significant positive correlation between late activation of T-lymphocytes (% expression, r = 0.299 P = 0.019 & absolute count, r = 0.260 P=0.039) with advancing age.

Men demonstrated a significant positive correlation in the % expression of (CD3-/CD16+/CD56+) natural killer (NK) cells with age (r = 0.316 P=0.017). Between the ages of 55-70 years, healthy individuals experience significant alterations in immune function; however, such changes appear largely sex-specific. Given the reported importance of adequate Zn status in maintaining optimal immune function, further studies are required to explore the effect of enhanced Zn status on emerging immune deficiencies in cell-mediated immunity in healthy 55-70y olds.

Reported by

Univ. Ulster
BT52 1SA Coleraine
United Kingdom
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