Blood levels of some toxic metals in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Type 1- infection

Keywords: Cadmium, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, Oxidatory stress


Background: The introduction of antiretroviral therapy has reduced the mortality rate and increased the average life-expectancy of HIV-infected population. Infection probably due to the combination of the effects of environmental exposures and chronic inflammation and the role of mpact in infected individuals have been under-reported.

Objective: To compare the plasma levels of cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg) and nickel (Ni) in HIV 1 –positive subjects receiving highly active anti-retroviral therapy treatment (HAART) and treatment-naïve subjects.

Methods: The 300 study participants comprised 100 confirmed HIV-1 positive individuals on HAART, 100 HIV-1 positive HAART-naïve and 100 HIV-1 negative controls. Plasma levels of toxic metals were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (Agilent 7500, Norwalk, USA).

Results: Plasma levels of toxic metals were significantly higher among HIV-infected subjects than controls (p <0.001), with only Cadmium concentration being significantly higher (p = 0.05) among the HAART-treated subjects than HAART-naïve subjects.

Conclusion: High toxic metal levels may lead to increased oxidative stress and adverse prognostic outcomes. Periodic evaluation of the blood levels of some toxic metals in HIV-1 infected individual is suggested and preventive strategies against environmental pollution should be adopted.


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Original Research