Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 175, Issue 1, pp 17–26 | Cite as

Zinc Content in Cord Blood Is Associated with Maternal Age and Parity

  • Ayman Lee Youssof
  • Noor Lide Abu KassimEmail author
  • Siti Aishah Rashid
  • Marc De Ley
  • Mohammad Tariqur RahmanEmail author


At childbirth (parturition), zinc (Zn) homeostasis in cord blood (CB) can be affected by a number of factors: Zn in maternal blood, parturition related stress as well as metallothionein (MT). Both Zn and stress are known inducers of MT which is primarily involved in Zn homeostasis. This study analyzed Zn concentration [Zn], in CB components and MT-2A transcription in CB mononuclear cells (MNC) in relation to primiparous and multiparous childbirth. [Zn] in CB (n = 47) plasma, erythrocytes, and MNCs were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (λ = 213.9 nm). The MT-2A transcription in CB-MNC was quantified using real-time PCR. Significant correlations (Pearson r) were found between: plasma-[Zn] and erythrocyte-[Zn] (p = 0.002); [Zn] and MT-2A messenger RNA (mRNA) (p = 0.000) in CB-MNC. Student’s t tests showed higher levels of MT-2A mRNA and MNC-[Zn] in CB of older (≥25 years) compared to younger mothers (≤24 years) (p = 0.043 and p = 0.016, respectively). Significantly higher [Zn] was found in CB plasma (p = 0.017) and MNC (p = 0.041) of older primiparous compared to the younger primiparous and older multiparous mothers respectively. MT-2A mRNA in CB-MNC was significantly lower in CB of younger primiparous mothers compared to their older counterparts (p = 0.001). Path analysis showed that MNC-[Zn] (β = 0.83; p = 0.000) had a greater influence on MT-2A mRNA expression, compared to parity (β = −0.14; p = 0.033). Higher [Zn] in CB of primiparous mothers could be linked to higher stress during parturition, however, might be beneficial for the growth and development of the child. Together MNC-[Zn] and parity contributed ~70 % of the MT-2A transcription in CB-MNC.


Catecholamines Erythrocytes Mononuclear cells Parturition Plasma Stress 



Cord blood




Maternal blood


Mononuclear cells




Zinc concentration



The authors wish to acknowledge Marzouq Abedur Rahman for language editing.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Sources of Funding

This research was supported by the grant of Basic and Applied Biomedical Research Cluster unit (RCG-22-05).




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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayman Lee Youssof
    • 1
  • Noor Lide Abu Kassim
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Siti Aishah Rashid
    • 1
  • Marc De Ley
    • 4
  • Mohammad Tariqur Rahman
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of ScienceInternational Islamic University MalaysiaKuantanMalaysia
  2. 2.Faculty of DentistryInternational Islamic University MalaysiaKuantanMalaysia
  3. 3.Faculty of NursingUmm Al-Qura UniversityMeccaSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceKU LeuvenHeverleeBelgium
  5. 5.Faculty of DentistryUniversity MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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