Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 148, Issue 2, pp 139–147 | Cite as

Interaction Between Zinc, Cadmium, and Lead in Scalp Hair Samples of Pakistani and Irish Smokers Rheumatoid Arthritis Subjects in Relation to Controls

  • Hassan Imran AfridiEmail author
  • Tasneem Gul Kazi
  • Dermot Brabazon
  • Sumsun Naher


The incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been associated with cigarette smoking. The aim of our study was to assess the trace essential and toxic metals, cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn), in scalp hair samples of 32 Irish and 46 Pakistani smokers and non-smokers RA male patients with age range 42–56 years. For comparison purpose, the scalp hair samples of 27 Irish and 55 Pakistani non-RA male subjects of the same age group were collected. The concentrations of trace and toxic elements were measured by inductive coupled plasma atomic emission spectrophotometer and atomic absorption spectrophotometer prior to microwave-assisted acid digestion. The validity and accuracy of the methodology was checked using certified reference materials and using conventional wet acid digestion method on the same certified reference materials (CRMs). The recovery of all studied elements was found to be in the range of 97.5–99.7% of certified reference values of CRMs. The results of this study showed that the mean values of Cd and Pb were significantly higher in scalp hair samples of both smoker and non-smoker RA patients than in referents (P < 0.001), whereas the concentration of Zn was lower in the scalp hair samples of smokers and non-smokers rheumatoid arthritis patients. The deficiency of Zn and the high exposure of Cd and Pb as a result of cigarette smoking may be synergistic risk factors associated with rheumatoid arthritis.


Scalp hair Zinc Toxic elements Pakistani rheumatoid arthritis patients Irish rheumatoid arthritis patients Atomic absorption spectrophotometer Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrophotometer 



Dr. Hassan Imran Afridi is grateful to Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan for providing the scholarships for the post-doctoral research work. Dr. H.I. Afridi is also thankful to National Center of Excellence in Analytical Chemistry, University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Pakistan for the grant of sabbatical leave.


  1. 1.
    Gennari C (2001) Calcium and vitamin D nutrition and bone disease of the elderly. Public Health Nutr 4:547–559PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sandstead HH, Penland JG, Alcock NW, Dayal HH, Chen XC, Li JS, Zhao F, Yang JJ (1998) Effects of repletion with zinc and other micronutrients on neuropsychologic performance and growth of Chinese children. Am J Clin Nutr 68:470S–5SPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Grynpas MD (1990) Fluoride effects on bone crystals. J Bone Mineral Res 5:S169–S175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tandon SK, Chatterjee M, Bhargava A, Shukla V, Bihari V (2001) Lead poisoning in Indian silver refiners. Sci Total Environ 281:177–182PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tudor R, Zalewski PD, Ratnaike RN (2001) Zinc in health and chronic disease. Scand J Rheumatol 30:208–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Adeniyi FA, Heaton FW (1980) The effect of zinc deficiency on alkaline phosphatase (EC and its isoenzymes. Br J Nutr 43:561–569PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Starcher BC, Hill CH, Madaras JG (1980) Effect of zinc deficiency on collagenase and collagen turnover. J Nutr 110:2095–102PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Calhoun NR, Smith JC Jr, Becker KL (1974) The role of zinc in bone metabolism. Clin Orthop Relat Res 103:212–34PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kishi S, Yamaguchi M (1994) Inhibitory effect of zinc compounds on osteoclast-like cell formation in mouse marrow cultures. Biochem Pharmacol 48:1225–1230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kozlowski LT, Connor RJ (2002) Cigarette filter ventilation is a defective design because of misleading taste, bigger puffs, and blocked vents. Tob Control 11:140–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wagner GJ (1993) Accumulation of cadmium in crop plants and its consequences to human health. Adv Agron 51:173–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chiba M, Masironi R (1992) Toxic and trace-elements in tobacco and tobacco-smoke. Bull WHO 70:269–275PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Csalari J, Szantai K (2002) Transfer rate of cadmium, lead, zinc and iron from the tobacco-cut of the most popular Hungarian cigarette brands to the combustion products. Acta Aliment 31:279–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Klaus KA, Witte MB, Andrew L, Clark MA, John GF (2001) Chronic heart failure and micronutrients. J Am Coll Cardiol 37:1765–1774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Witte KKA, Nikitin NP, Parker AC et al (2005) The effect of micronutrient supplementation on quality-of-life and left ventricular function in elderly patients with chronic heart failure. Eur Heart J 26:2238–2244PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kazi TG, Afridi HI, Kazi N et al (2008) Distribution of zinc, copper and iron in biological samples of Pakistani myocardial infarction (1st, 2nd and 3rd heart attack) patients and controls. Clin Chim Acta 389:114–119PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Afridi HI, Kazi TG, Kazi N et al (2008) Evaluation of status of toxic metals in biological samples of diabetes mellitus patients. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 80:280–288PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Huang CC, Yang MH, Shih TS (1997) Automated on-line sample pretreatment system for the determination of trace metals in biological samples by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Anal Chem 69(19):3930–3939PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Afridi HI, Kazi TG, Kazi GH et al (2006) Analysis of heavy metals in scalp hair samples of hypertensive patients by conventional and microwave digestion methods. Spect letter 39:203–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sauer GR, Wuthier RE (1990) Distribution of zinc in the avian growth plate. J Bone Miner Res 5:S162Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Relea P, Revilla M, Ripoll E et al (1995) Zinc, biochemical markers of nutrition, and type I osteoporosis. Age Ageing 24:303–307PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Honkanen VEA, Lamberg-Allardt CH, Vesterinen MK et al (1991) Plasma zinc and copper concentrations in rheumatoid arthritis: influence of dietary factors and disease activity. Am J Clin Nutr 54:1082–1086PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Michael HK, Carolyn H, Margaret J, David BJ (1972) Low levels of zinc in hair, anorexia, poor growth, and hypogeusia in children. Pediatr Res 6:868–874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Angus RM, Sambrook PN, Pocock NA, Eisman JA (1988) Dietary intake and bone mineral density. Bone Miner 4:265–77PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Yamaguchi M (1990) β-Alanyl-l-histidinato zinc and bone resorption. Gen Pharmacol Vasc S 26:1179–1183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Yamaguchi M (1998) Role of zinc in bone formation and bone resorption. J Trace Elem Exp Med 11:119–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Aufderheide AC (1989) Chemical analysis of skeletal remains. In: Iscan MY, Kennedy KAR (eds) Reconstruction of life from the skeleton. Liss, New York, pp 237–260Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Skinner HCW (2000) In praise of phosphates, or why vertebrates chose apatite to mineralise their skeletal elements. Geol Int 42:232–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Goyer RA (1996) Toxic effects of metals. In: Klaassen CD (ed) Casarett and Doull’s toxicology: the basic science of poisons, vol. 5. McGraw-Hill, New York, pp 691–736Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Sahito SR, Kazi TG, Kazi GH, Memon MA, Shaikh Q, Jakhrani MA, Shar GQ (2003) Comparison of sample preparation methods for the determination of essential and toxic elements in important indigenous medicinal plant Aloe barbadensis. J Chem Soc Pak 25(2):201–205Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Arain MB, Kazi TG, Jamali MK, Jalbani N, Afridi HI, Kandhro GA et al (2008) Hazardous impact of toxic metals on tobacco leaves grown in contaminated soil by ultrasonic assisted pseudo-digestion: multivariate study. J Haz Mat 155:216–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kazi TG, Jalbani N, Arain MB, Jamali MK, Afridi HI et al (2009) Toxic metals distribution in different components of Pakistani and imported cigarettes by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometer. J Haz Mat 163:302–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hecht SS (2003) Tobacco carcinogens, their biomarkers and tobacco-induced cancer. Nat Rev Cancer 3:733–744PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kazi TG, Jalbani N, Arain MB, Jamali MK, Afridi HI, Shah AQ (2009) Determination of toxic elements in different brands of cigarette by atomic absorption spectrometry using ultrasonic assisted acid digestion. Environ Monit Assess 154:155–167PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sharma G, Sandhir R, Nath R, Gill K (1991) Effect of ethanol on cadmium uptake and metabolism of zinc and copper in rats exposed to cadmium. J Nutr 121:87–91PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Brzoska MM, Moniuszko-Jakoniuk J, Jurczuk M, Chraniuk M (1997) The influence of cadmium on bone tissue in rats. Pol J Environ Stud 6:29–32Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Stohs SJ, Bagchi D (1995) Oxidative mechanisms in the toxicity of metal ions. Free Radic Biol Med 18:321–336PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Waalkes MP, Coogan TP, Barter RA (1992) Toxicological principles of metal carcinogenesis with special emphasis on cadmium. Crit Rev Toxicol 22:175–201PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Lonnerdal B (1993) Dietary factors influencing zinc absorption. J Nutr 130:1378–1383Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Rodushkin I, Axelsson MD (2000) Application of double focusing sector field ICP–MS for multielemental characterization of human hair and nails. Part II. A study of the inhabitants of northern Sweden. Sci Total Environ 262:21–36PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Nowak B, Chmielnicka J (2000) Relationship of lead and cadmium to essential elements in hair, teeth, and nails of environmentally exposed people. Ecotoxic Environ Safety 46:265–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Trojanowski P, Trojanowski J, Antonowicz J, Bokiniec M (2010) Lead and cadmium content in human hair in central Pomerania (northern Poland). J Elementol 15(2):363–384Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Sturaro A, Parvoli G, Doretti L (1993) Simultaneous determination of trace metals in human hair by dynamic ion-exchange chromatography. Anal Chim Acta 274:163–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Goulle JP, Mahieu L, Castermant J, Neveu N, Bonneau L, Laine G, Bouige D, Lacroix C (2005) Metal and metalloid multi-elementary ICP–MS validation in whole blood, plasma, urine and hair reference values. Forensic Sci Int 153:39–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Iyengar V, Wolttlez J (1988) Trace elements in human clinical specimens: evaluation of literature data to identify reference values. Clin Chem 34(3):474–481PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Nagra MS, Pallah BS, Sahota GPS, Singh H, Sahota HS (1992) A study of trace elements in scalp hair and fingernails of industrial workers of Ontario, Canada. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 162(2):283–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Saiki M, Alves ER, Jaluu O, Sumita NM, Filho WJ (2008) Determination of trace elements in scalp hair of an elderly population by neutron activation analysis. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 276(1):53–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    McKenzie JM (1979) Content of zinc in serum, urine hair and toenails of New Zealand adults. Am J Clinical Nutr 32:570–579Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Pasha Q, Malik SA, Iqbal J, Shaheen N, Shah MH (2008) Comparative distribution of the scalp hair trace metal contents in the benign tumour patients and normal donors. Environ Monit Assess 147:377–388PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Pasha Q, Malik SA, Shaheen N, Shah MH (2010) Investigation of trace metals in the blood plasma and scalp hair of gastrointestinal cancer patients in comparison with controls. Clin Chim Acta 411:531–539PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Shah MH, Shaheen N, Khalique A, Alrabti AAA, Jaffar M (2006) Comparative metal distribution in hair of Pakistani and Libyan population and source identification by multivariate analysis. Environ Monit Assess 114:505–519PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Khalique A, Ahmad S, Anjum T, Jaffar M, Shah MH, Shaheen N, Tariq SR, Manzoor S (2005) A comparative study based on gender and age dependence of selected metals in scalp hair. Environ Monit Assess 104:45–57PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Vishwanathan H, Hema A, Edwin D, Usha Rani MV (2002) Trace metal concentration in scalp hair of occupationally exposed auto drivers. Environ Monit Assess 77:149–154PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Sukumar A, Subramanian (2003) Elements in the hair of non-mining workers of a lignite open mine in Neyveli. Indust Health 41(2):63–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Mehra R, Juneja M (2005) Elements in scalp hair and nails indicating metal body burden in polluted environment. J Sci Ind Res 64(2):119–124Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Rao KS, Balaji T, Rao TP, Babu Y, Naidu GRK (2002) Determination of iron, cobalt, nickel, manganese, zinc, copper, cadmium and lead in human hair by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry. Spectrochim Acta Part B 57:1333–1338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Sasmaz S, Uz E, Pinar T, Vural H, Eiri M, Ilihan A, Akyol O (2003) Hair lead and cadmium concentrations in patients with epilepsy and migraine. Neurosci Res Commune 32:107–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Ulvi H, Yigiter R, Yoldas TS, Dolu Y, Var A, Mungen B (2002) Magnesium, zinc and copper contents in hair and their serum concentrations in patients with epilepsy. Eastern J Medicine 7:31–35Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Man CK, Zheng YH, Mak PK (1996) Trace element profiles in the hair of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients. J Radioanal Nucl Chem Letters 212:151–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Man CK, Zheng YH (2002) Analysis of trace elements in scalp hair of mentally retarded children. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 253:375–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Nnorom IC, Igwe JC, Ejimone JC (2005) Multielement analyses of human scalp hair samples from three distant towns in southeastern Nigeria. African J Biotech 4:1124–1127Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Khuder A, Bakir MA, Hasan R, Mohammad A (2008) Determination of nickel, copper, zinc and lead in human scalp hair in Syrian occupationally exposed workers by total reflection X-ray fluorescence. Environ Monit Assess 143:67–74PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Eltayeb MAH, Van-Grieken RE (1989) Preconcentration and XRF determination of heavy metals in hair from Sudanese populations. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 131:331–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Mortada WI, Sobh MA, El-Defrawy MM, Farahat SE (2002) Reference intervals of cadmium, lead, and mercury in blood, urine, hair, and nails among residents in Mansoura City, Nile Delta, Egypt. Environ Res Section A 90:104–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Hozharbi S (2002) Lead-based paint is a hazard to young children: implications for Pakistani children. J Pak Med Assoc 5:224–226Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hassan Imran Afridi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tasneem Gul Kazi
    • 2
  • Dermot Brabazon
    • 1
  • Sumsun Naher
    • 1
  1. 1.Mechanical & Manufacturing EngineeringDublin City UniversityDublinIreland
  2. 2.National Center of Excellence in Analytical ChemistryUniversity of SindhJamshoroPakistan

Personalised recommendations