Jpn. J. Infect. Dis., 61 (3), 202-204, 2008

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Original Article

Serum Zinc and Albumin Levels in Pulmonary Tuberculosis Patients with and without HIV

Kuppamuthu Ramakrishnan, Rajaiah Shenbagarathai1*, KaruppusamyKavitha2, Alagappa Uma3, Ramakrishnan Balasubramaniam4 and Ponniah Thirumalaikolundusubramanian5

Tuberculosis Research Centre; 1Department of Biotechnology, Lady Doak College; 27th Day School; 3Institute of Microbiology, Medical College; 4Centre for Research in Medical Entomology, Madurai; and 5Institute of Internal Medicine, Madras Medical College, Chennai, India

(Received December 10, 2007. Accepted March 17, 2008)

*Corresponding author: Mailing address: Department of Biotechnology, Lady Doak College, Madurai, Tamilnadu, India 625002. Tel: +91-452-2530527, Fax: +91-452-2530293, E-mail:

SUMMARY: Limited data are available on the relationship between nutritional status and pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Zinc plays a vital role in the immune status of the individual. The present study was carried out to estimate serum zinc and albumin levels in newly detected adult active PTB patients with (n = 20) and without (n = 20) HIV, and to compare them with the levels in controls (healthy family members; n = 20) who satisfied rigid selection criteria. Standard methods were adopted to collect an early morning fasting blood sample for zinc (by Atomic Absorption Spectrometer) and albumin (estimated by the bromocresol green method). The mean ± SD for BMI, zinc and albumin among the controls, HIV positive and HIV negative patients were 19.6 ± 0.6, 18 ± 0.4 and 18.5 ± 0.6 kg/m2; 117.13 ± 4.2, 53.9 ± 8 and 65.5 ± 9.8 µg/dL; and 4.1 ± 0.6, 2.9 ± 0.4 and 3.6 ± 0.7 g/dL, respectively. All three parameters were significantly low in active PTB patients irrespective of HIV status, but more so in HIV-positive individuals. These changes may be attributable to nutritional factors, enteropathy and acute phase reactant proteins. Hence, the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) in India is providing nutritional supplements to those HIV-infected cases inducted for antiretroviral therapy and nutritional counseling for others as a part of a national policy.

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