Abstract

A decline of immune responses and dynamic modulation of the redox status are observed during aging and are influenced by trace elements such as copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc. So far, analytical studies have focused mainly on single trace elements. Therefore, we aimed to characterize age-specific profiles of several trace elements simultaneously in serum and organs of adult and old mice. This allows for correlating multiple trace element levels and to identify potential patterns of age-dependent alterations. In serum, copper and iodine concentrations were increased and zinc concentration was decreased in old as compared to adult mice. In parallel, decreased copper and elevated iron concentrations were observed in liver. The age-related reduction of hepatic copper levels was associated with reduced expression of copper transporters, whereas the increased hepatic iron concentrations correlated positively with proinflammatory mediators and Nrf2-induced ferritin H levels. Interestingly, the age-dependent inverse regulation of copper and iron was unique for the liver and not observed in any other organ. The physiological importance of alterations in the iron/copper ratio for liver function and the aging process needs to be addressed in further studies.