Background: The consequence of a deficiency in trace elements has been associated with an increased risk of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) disease progression and mortality. This study examined the association between high scalp hair and blood arsenic, cadmium, lead, and nickel concentrations and opportunistic infections in hospitalized patients with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Methods: The study was performed on sixty two male HIV+ patients (HIV-1) from different cities of Pakistan. The patients were divided in two groups according to secondary infections (tuberculosis, diarrhea, and high fever). The biological samples (scalp hair, blood, and urine) were collected from AIDS patients, and for comparative study 120 healthy subjects (males) of same age group (31 – 45 years), socioeconomic status, localities, and dietary habits were also included. The elements in the biological samples were analyzed by electrothermal atomic absorp-tion spectrophotometry, prior to microwave-assisted acid digestion. The validity and accuracy of the methodology was checked using certified reference materials (CRMs) and with values obtained by conventional wet acid digestion method on same CRMs.
Results: The results indicated significantly higher levels of As, Cd, Ni, and Pb in the biological samples (scalp hair, blood, and urine) of male HIV-1 patients, compared with control subjects. It was observed that the high levels of these toxic elements may be predictors for secondary infections in HIV-1 patients. There was a significant increase in mean values of As, Cd, Ni, and Pb in whole blood, scalp hair, and urine samples of three groups of AIDS patients as compared to a controlled healthy male group (p <0.001).
Conclusions: These data present guidance to clinicians and other professionals investigating toxicity of As, Cd, Ni, and Pb in biological samples of AIDS patients.
DOI: Clin. Lab. 2011;57:847-857