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Problems of Forensic Sciences 2003  Vol. 55 (LV)  120-130

Agnieszka MORAWSKA1, Anna KRÓL1, Ewa GOMÓŁKA1, Wojciech PIEKOSZEWSKI1,2, Aleksander KAMENCZAK3
1Department of Clinical and Industrial Toxicology, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Cracow
2Institute of Forensic Research, Cracow
3Toxicology Clinic, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Cracow


Zinc is an essential trace element, performing important physiologic functions in the human organism. Many chronic diseases (growth inhibition, dermal lesions, hypogonadism, increased susceptibility to infections, psychic disturbances, and atherosclerotic changes) are accompanied by a deficiency of this bioelement, caused mainly by insufficient supply or lowered bioavailability. Conversely, exposure to zinc (oxide) fumes causes symptoms reminiscent of influenza. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of duration of alcoholic disease and length of uninterrupted drinking episodes on the level of zinc in serum and on biochemical parameters characterising liver function. The study was performed on men who were alcohol dependent and acutely intoxicated. The control group consisted of healthy volunteers who drank alcohol from time to time. Alcohol and zinc concentrations were determined in all the studied men, and biochemical and haematological analyses were also carried out (on all subjects). The obtained results show that chronic alcohol consumption causes disturbances of zinc homeostasis, leading to a decrease in its serum level of over 25% compared to healthy people. The zinc concentration decreased as the duration of uninterrupted drinking increased. Among persons with an uninterrupted drinking episode of more than 60 days, the differences were statistically significant in relation to persons drinking continuously for less than 14 days. The duration of an uninterrupted drinking episode has a significant effect on (disturbances of) essential liver function, evidenced by increased values of liver damage indicators i.e. AspAt, AlAT, GGTP, but the changes are not correlated with the patients’ zinc levels.

Słowa kluczowe

Zinc; Ethanol; Alcoholism.

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