The Relationship between Copper & Zinc Concentration and Free Radical Markers in Copper Industry Workers

Document Type: Original Article


1 Associate Professor of Biochemistry, School of Medicine and Physiology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences Kerman, Iran

2 M.Sc. Student of Biochemistry, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

3 Expert, Occupational Health Office, Sarcheshmeh Copper Industry, Sarcheshmeh, Iran

4 Expert, Mahan International Center for Science & high Technology, and Environmental Sciences, Kerman, Iran


Introduction: Copper and zinc play a key role in oxidative reactions and in vivo studies have shown their
different effects. In this study we examined the influence of exposure to copper and zinc on catalase and
superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities in erythrocytes, total serum antioxidant capacity and malondiadehyde
(MDA) production of copper industry workers.
Methods: In the present study, 70 workers in a Copper Industry and 70 healthy controls with the age range
of 35-55 years were studied. The catalase assay and SOD activity in RBC lysate and total antioxidant were
measured by spectrophotometric methods. Using thiobarbitoric acid reaction, MDA concentration was
Results: The results showed a higher copper and zinc concentration in serum of worker group (113.8±2.2 &
148.3±3.2µg/L respectively, P<0.001) in comparison with the control group (104.5±1.5 & 107.7±2µg/L
respectively). Serum catalase and SOD activities in RBC were higher in workers (7621.7±199.3 &
1489.5±12.3µ/l) than in the control group (7049.1±157.4 & 1421.7±11.1 µ/l respectively, P<0.05, for SOD
only). Serum total antioxidant was significantly higher in workers than controls (1.6±0.03 vs. 1.4±0.01) and
it was the same for MDA concentration (245.5±3.7nmol/gHb in the worker group compared to
205±3.2nmol/gHb in the control group). No correlation were found between copper and zinc concentrations
and the other factors (P>0.05).
Conclusion: These results suggest that occupational exposure to copper and zinc induces oxidative stress
followed by anti oxidative defense system