Elements with multiple isotopes have varied isotopic compositions in nature as a result of isotope fractionation. Biomedical applications relying on isotopic analysis have become more popular. Cu, Fe and Zn isotopic analysis in blood has shown potential as a diagnostic tool for a number of diseases. Furthermore, the natural variations of these elements on healthy individuals can provide useful information.
Frank Vanhaecke and colleagues from Ghent University and Ghent University Hospital compared the isotopic values of Cu, Fe and Zn between men, menstruating women and two groups of non-menstruating women, women in their menopause and women with an intra-uterine device (IUD) used for contraception. The results indicated that Cu and Fe isotopic composition of whole blood is affected by menstruation, since the results for both groups of non-menstruating women were significantly different from those of menstruating women and much like those for men. On the other hand, Zn isotopic composition seems to be affected by age, since there was a significant difference between menopausal women and women using the IUD. The authors suggest this difference can be explained by the different hormone levels.
The method used for the isotopic measurements was multi-collector inductively coupled plasma- mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS). The method was chosen for its significantly higher sample throughput capacity and also the higher ionisation efficiency for the transition metals investigated.
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The influence of menstrual blood loss and age on the isotopic composition of Cu, Fe and Zn in human whole blood
Lana Van Heghe, Olivier Deltombe, Joris Delanghe, Herman Depypere and Frank Vanhaecke
J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2014,29, 478-482