Zn metabolism affects apoptosis rate and proliferative responsiveness of PBMC from patients on chronic hemodialysis.

J. Weissgarten, S. Berman, D. Modai, R. Rosenberg, M. Rapoport, M. Cohen, Z. Averbukh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with end-stage renal failure suffer from severe plasma trace metal deficiency that is not corrected by dialysis. Trace metals, including Zn(2+), are critical for cell differentiation and replication. Zn(2+)also plays important role in cell apoptosis. Both processes are known to be impaired in uremia. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of Zn(2+) supplementation on apoptosis of cultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients on chronic hemodialysis versus those from healthy control subjects, concomitantly with assessment of mitogen-induced cell proliferation. The results showed that (1) basal total cell-associated Zn(2+) was elevated in uremic PBMC, compared to normal controls (23.9 +/- 5.64 v 10.5 +/- 2.64 micromol/L/mg protein). The gap persisted following incubation in Zn(2+)-enriched medium (63.3 +/- 26.12 v 81.6 +/- 13.4 micromol/L/mg protein, P <.005). (2) Basal proliferative response to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) was significantly decreased in uremic PBMC compared to normal controls (12,000 +/- 1,560 cpm v 16,600 +/- 1,460 cpm, P <.01). Incubation of uremic PBMC in Zn(2+)-enriched medium improved their proliferative response to PHA, yielding counts per minute significantly higher compared to their normal counterparts (37,000 +/- 7,500 cpm v 22,000 +/- 3,000 cpm, P <.001). (3) Basal apoptosis rate in uremic PBMC was significantly elevated compared to normal control cells (7.6% v 2.6%, P <.05). Following incubation in Zn(2+)-enriched medium, apoptosis was increased both in normal and uremic PBMC. Percent apoptosis of uremic PBMC remained significantly elevated compared to control cells (11.7% v 5.7%). We conclude that uremic PBMC are more responsive to exogenous Zn(2+) in culture than their normal counterparts. This, among other abnormalities, might reflect an abnormal regulation of Zn(2+) transport by uremic mononuclear cell membranes. The resultant increase in total cell-associated Zn(2+) content improves poor proliferative responsiveness of uremic PBMC. On the other hand, increased total cell-associated Zn(2+) stimulates enhanced apoptosis in uremic PBMC, which, probably by eliminating defective cells, contributes to the functional capability of the population as a whole. The net effect of the 2 processes is still augmentation of cell proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1392-1396
Number of pages5
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes


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