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Association of trace elements abnormalities with thyroid dysfunction

Maha M Al-Bazi
Taha A Kumosani
Abdulrahman L Al-Malki
Kurunthachalam Kannan
Said S Moselhy


Background: The metabolic pathways can be affected by dysregulation in thyroid hormone levels which in turn can arise from environmental chemical exposure. This study investigated the association of selected trace elements with thyroid dis- orders in a Saudi population.

Methods: Urine samples collected from 100 participants (50 thyroid disorder patients and 50 controls) were analyzed to determine trace elements using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer. Non-parametric Mann-Whitney Test, were used to examine the association between socio-demographic as well as clinical characteristics of thyroid profile levels (T3,T4 and TSH) and urinary trace element concentrations.

Results: Urine from patients with thyroid disorders had significantly higher concentrations of Ni, Cu, and Cd (p-values <0.0005). In contrast, urinary Cr and Zn (p-values <0.013 and 0.005) were low in thyroid patients compared to the control.

Conclusion: First study to report urinary trace element levels showed a possible link between thyroid disorders and trace element exposure which reflect the environmental pollution.

Keywords: Trace metals; heavy elements; thyroid dysfunction.