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Pattern of Altered Plasma Elemental Phosphorus, Calcium, Zinc, and Iron in Alzheimer's Disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

for the AddNeuroMed consortium

Original languageEnglish
Article number3147
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


King's Authors


Metal/mineral dyshomeostasis has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The aim of the study was to investigate the difference in absolute and percentage levels of plasma phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium in cognitively normal (CN) and AD subjects. Total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) spectroscopy was used to detect plasma metals/minerals in CN and AD subjects (n = 44 per group). TXRF detected significantly increased plasma levels of phosphorus (p = 1.33 × 10−12) and calcium (p = 0.025) in AD compared to CN subjects, with higher phosphorus/calcium (p = 2.55 × 10−14) ratio in the former. Percentage concentrations calculated for phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium by dividing the concentration of each element by the total concentration of these elements and multiplying by 100%, demonstrated phosphorus was higher in AD compared to CN subjects, while calcium, iron, zinc, copper and selenium were lower in AD subjects, with area under the curves as high as 0.937 (p = 6 × 10−5) computed from receiver operating curves. With exclusion of high levels of phosphorus and calcium from percentage calculations, iron levels remained low in AD whereas zinc was higher in AD, and copper and selenium levels were similar. We demonstrate altered distribution of elements in the plasma of AD subjects with high interdependencies between elemental levels and propose the potential of TXRF measurements for disease monitoring.

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