The Role of Trace Elements in Pseudoexfoliation Syndrome: A Cross-sectional Study


Purpose: Pseudoexfoliation syndrome (PXF) is an age-related condition, characterized by deposition of whitish flake-shaped materials in the anterior segment of the eye. Although it occurs all over the world, a considerable racial variation exists. According to the high frequency of PXF in Iran and the importance of prevention and early treatment, we evaluated the plasma level of iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium in patients with PXF.

Methods: In this study, 83 individuals were enrolled; 40 patients with cataract and PXF as the case group and 43 age- and sex-matched individuals with cataract but without PXF as the control group. The serum levels of the mentioned microelements were compared in two groups.

Results: In the case group, 25 (62.5%) male and 15 (37.5%) female subjects participated. In the control group, the corresponding figures were 22 (51.2%) and 21 (48.8%), respectively. The mean age of the case group was 66.07 ± 9.46 and that for the control group was 66.88 ± 8.04 years. Regarding the case group, the serum levels of iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium were 60.58 ± 21.04, 84.7 ± 14.37, 120.23 ± 14.43, and 2.11 ± 0.23, respectively. These serum levels in the control group were 89.07 ± 26.06, 97.51 ± 17.42, 123.33 ± 19.01, and 2.14 ± 0.16. The serum levels of iron and zinc were significantly lower in the case group than the control group (P < 0.0001); however, such a difference was not observed in terms of copper and magnesium serum levels.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that the serum iron and zinc levels were lower in PXF patients. Nutritional deficiency may be a cause of zonular weakness in these patients. Heme is a cofactor for the enzyme which contributes to the biosynthesis of fibrillin, the major protein in zonular fibers. Therefore, iron can play a substantial role in the biosynthesis of the fibrils and also in the zonular stability.


Pseudoexfoliation, Trace Element, Zonular Stability

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