Background: Evidence of silicon's importance to health has been gradually accumulating. Nevertheless, there are few studies comparing serum silicon levels in newborns with maternal levels. Likewise, little is known concerning the inter-relation between silicon and other trace elements.
Objective: The present study evaluated maternal and newborn levels of serum silicon and their relation to those of zinc and copper.
Methods: We measured serum silicon, copper, and zinc in 66 pregnant women, in the umbilical cord of their infants, and in 44 newborns, by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. All the samples were from fasted subjects.
Results: Serum silicon level in term newborns (20.6 ± 13.2 μmol/L) was significantly higher than in umbilical cord (8.9 ± 3.5 μmol/L; P < 0.0001). Mean serum silicon level in maternal vein (7.7 ± 3.4 μmol/L) was lower than that in umbilical cord, although differences were not significant. We also found higher levels of zinc (P = 0.008) and lower levels of copper (P < 0.0001) in cord blood compared with maternal blood. Umbilical venous/maternal venous level ratios of zinc, copper, and silicon were 1.5 ± 0.5, 0.2 ± 0.1, and 1.3 ± 0.7, respectively. There was a positive correlation between silicon and zinc levels (r = 0.32), and a negative correlation between copper and zinc levels (r = −0.35).
Conclusions: It seems that there is a positive gradient of silicon from the mother to her fetus. Silicon levels were higher in newborn than in cord blood, and correlated significantly with that of zinc but not copper. Additional investigations are needed to further define the role of silicon and its interaction with other trace elements during the perinatal period.
*Research Unit, Hospital Universitario de Canarias
†Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
‡Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
§Department of Neonatology, CHU de Liège, CHR de la Citadelle, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to N. Marta Díaz-Gómez, MD, PhD, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Sección de Medicina, Enfermería y Fisioterapia, Universidad de La Laguna, Campus de Ciencias de la Salud, Tenerife, Spain (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received 25 February, 2016
Accepted 16 June, 2016
A part of the present study was supported by grants from the Agencia Canaria de Investigación, Innovación y Sociedad de la Información (PILA SOLSUBC200801000361).
The authors report no conflicts of interest.