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Malavolta M.,Laboratory of Nutrigenomic and Immunosenescence | Giacconi R.,Laboratory of Nutrigenomic and Immunosenescence | Piacenza F.,Marche Polytechnic University | Santarelli L.,Marche Polytechnic University | And 8 more authors.

Associations have been reported between plasma Cu and Zn levels and the incidence of the most important age-related diseases. Previously proposed methods of using plasma Cu/Zn as a predictor of allcause mortality have been derived from populations in which old and very old subjects were underrepresented. The purpose of this paper is to estimate the usefulness of plasma Cu/Zn as a sensitive biomarker of harmful inflammatory or nutritional changes in the elderly and its incremental prognostic utility as a predictor of all-cause mortality in a functionally independent elderly Italian cohort. The association between plasma Cu/Zn and inflammatory (CRP, ESR, IL-6) or nutritional (albumin, BMI) markers was studied in 498 elderly subjects. Blood samples were taken from 164 healthy 20- to 60-year-old volunteer controls. A 3.5 years prospective follow-up study of mortality by age-related diseases was performed in n = 218 over 70-year-olds. Plasma Cu/Zn ratio was associated with all the inflammatory markers studied, as well as with serum albumin, and predicted 3.5 years mortality in subjects over 70. Plasma Cu/Zn was higher in women than men and increased with advancing age. Subjects with stable cardiovascular disease (CVD) displayed higher plasma Cu/Zn than those without, due mainly to increased plasma Cu. However, most of the age-related changes of Cu/Zn resulted from a progressive decline of plasma Zn. Cu/Zn ratio may be considered an important clinical inflammatory-nutritional biomarker as well as a significant predictor of all-cause mortality in over 70-year-olds. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009. Source

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