Differential effect of surgical injury and thermal burn on zinc metabolism in man


Mountokalakis T




Klin Wochenschr


Serum, erythrocyte and urinary zinc were serially measured during the early ten days following major surgery or thermal burns in 18 and 8 patients, respectively. Serum zinc gradually decreased and erythrocyte and urinary zinc increased during the first three postoperative or post-burn days. Thereafter, both serum and erythrocyte zinc gradually returned to preoperative levels in the patients subjected to surgery, while serum zinc continued to fall progressively despite a rapid restoration of erythrocyte zinc to control values, in the burned patients. It is suggested that in contrast to the early postoperative or post-burn hypozincemia, which may be attributed to a redistribution of zinc from plasma to tissue, continued decrease in serum zinc following thermal burns may indicate a mobilization of zinc to the burn site and eventually result in significant zinc depletion.