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May 20, 1988

Zinc as a Cofactor in Human Immunodeficiency Virus—Induced Immunosuppression

Author Affiliations

Montreal General Hospital

Montreal General Hospital

JAMA. 1988;259(19):2850-2851. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720190022021

To the Editor.  —We read with interest the letter by Fabris et al1 reporting decreased levels of serum zinc in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. As part of an ongoing nutritional study of HIV disease, we have determined serum zinc levels in over 150 subjects classified according to current Centers for Disease Control criteria.2 We concur with Fabris et al— serum zinc levels in subjects with group IV HIV disease were low (Figure), except for our group IV-C2 patients, who had serum zinc levels similar to those of our controls. Contrary to the findings of Fabris et al, we did not find low levels of serum zinc in 35 subjects with generalized lymphadenopathy.Pifer et al3 have suggested that lower zinc levels may be a life-style factor predisposing to further HIV-induced immunosuppression. As HIV serology was not assessed in their population of homosexual men without acquired