INTRODUCTION: The causative microorganism in anthrax is Bacillus anthracis and this disease is more common in some regions of Turkey. Changes in trace elements other than Fe in anthrax infection have not been studied. In this study, levels of some trace elements (iron [Fe], copper [Cu], zinc [Zn], magnesium [Mg], manganese [Mn], cobalt [Co], cadmium [Cd], lead [Pb]) were investigated in patients with cutaneous anthrax.
METHODS: Fifteen patients with cutaneous anthrax and 15 healthy individuals matched for age/sex were included in the control group. Anthrax was diagnosed according to contact status with animals, symptoms, examination, and microbiological results. Determination of the levels of the trace elements and heavy metals was performed by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (UNICAM-929 spectrophotometer).
RESULTS: Serum iron, lead, and cadmium levels were significantly higher in the patients than in the control subjects (p<0.001). Serum magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, and cobalt levels were significantly lower in the patients than in the control subjects (p<0.001, Co<0,05). The Cu/Zn molar ratio was not significantly increased in the patients with cutaneous anthrax than in the control subjects.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: It has been reported that Fe, Cd, and Pb levels are low and Cu level is high in infectious diseases. But we determined the opposite situation in the patients with cutaneous anthrax. As a result, it can be said that the detection of high Pb and Cd levels in the cell in anthrax disease suppresses the immune system. Also, Zn can be used as a marker for this disease.