Level of trace elements in serum and toenail samples of patients with onychocryptosis (ingrown toenail) and onychomycosis.

Kilinc E. , Buturak B. , Alkan F.

Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology : organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements (GMS), vol.61, pp.126509, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 61
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2020.126509
  • Title of Journal : Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology : organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements (GMS)
  • Page Numbers: pp.126509




Onychocryptosis (ingrown toenail) and onychomycosis are common pathologies of the toenail and affecting many people. Since levels of trace elements have been shown to vary in certain diseases, in the presented work, chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), selenium (Se), and zinc (Zn) levels of toenail and serum samples of healthy individuals and patients with onychocryptosis and onychomycosis were compared.


Serum and toenail samples of 88 voluntary subjects (healthy n=24; onychomycosis n=24; onychocryptosis n=40) aged between 19-80 years were collected. Levels of trace elements in the samples were analyzed by using an inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrophotometer (ICP-OES Thermo iCAP - 6000). The differences in medians between the groups for elements were evaluated with Kruskal -Wallis H test with post hoc for pairwise comparisons in SPSS 18.


Mg (p<0.001) and Mn (p=0.002) levels were significantly increased whereas Zn (p=0.011) level was decreased in toenails of patients with onychomycosis compared to healthy subjects. Although Mg and Mn levels were higher in female subjects with onychomycosis (p=0.001; p=0.019), Mn was only increased in male subjects (p=0.015). Mg was the only trace element found to be independent of sex, age, and smoking status in patients with onychomycosis. However, no significant difference has been found in serum trace element levels neither between any groups nor toenail trace element levels of patients with onychocryptosis and healthy subjects.


As a response of the human body to pathogens like fungi in toenails, Mg, Mn and Zn levels vary. Especially the role of Mg ions in onychomycosis needs to be investigated more specifically.